A man is on life support at a hospital in Montclair as his family demands justice for what they believe was an unjust use of force.
The family of Tony Ibanez has filed a lawsuit alleging that Montclair Police Department officers entered his bedroom on March 4, tased him, and severely beat him until he suffered cardiac arrest.
Family members say Ibanez, 42, has been declared brain dead.
His family and the attorneys representing them held a press conference on Monday to formally announce the lawsuit and demand the release of body-worn camera footage from the officers involved.
According to the Montclair Police Department, officers responded to a 911 call at a mobile home park on the 4100 block of Mission Boulevard. Police allege that Ibanez was “armed with an object, threatening the female victim caller who lived at the same location.”
Police said officers found him in the bedroom where they tried to detain him with force. Paramedics took Ibanez to the hospital where he remained on life support Monday.
Family members say Ibanez, who works for Caltrans, has struggled with drug addiction. He was renting a room and it was the homeowner who called the police with the intention of getting him some help after he didn’t open the door, they say.
“She called for assistance. There was no one in danger or domestic disturbance, simply a call for assistance,” said Christian Contreras, the attorney representing Ibanez’s family. “That begs the question as to, ‘Are police equipped to help people?’ They’re not; they’re equipped to brutalize people and use force.”
The family told KTLA they are holding out hope that Ibanez will recover, but added that the lawsuit was filed to ensure the camera footage is released and justice is served.
“You know he’s fighting for his life,” said Rosendo Rojo Jr., Tony Ibanez’s brother. “Eight officers using a baton, a taser – it wasn’t a disturbance. It wasn’t a violent call.”
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has been tasked with overseeing an investigation to determine if Montclair officers acted legally and with justified force.
KTLA reached out to the Sheriff’s Department for an update on that investigation but has yet to hear back.