Vera Institute of Justice on the Killing of Mario Arenales Gonzalez

On April 19, in Alameda County, California, Mario Arenales Gonzalez was killed by officers called to a local park after 911 calls about public intoxication. Body camera footage released this week revealed that his death was completely avoidable and occurred when he was in police custody. Vera stands with Gonzalez’s family and community as they pursue legal action and seek accountability for Mario’s death.

The Vera Institute of Justice believes that communities deserve a non-law enforcement response to 911 calls like the one that ended in Gonzalez’s death. Our research finds that most 911 calls relate to non-criminal issues and instead are for incidents like nuisance complaints, well-being checks, or reports of low-level offenses like public intoxication. Behavioral health crises should involve community-based, unarmed first responders, not an armed law enforcement response.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.