Police say man swallowed cocaine during arrest, but family asks how he could do that while cuffed

But family asks how that could have happened while he was in cuffs

  • Abel Rosiles -- pictured with his sisters Fabiola, right, and Galalia -- remains in critical condition after, police say, he ingested a bag of cocaine during an arrest at a Round Lake Beach gas station last Wednesday.

    Abel Rosiles -- pictured with his sisters Fabiola, right, and Galalia -- remains in critical condition after, police say, he ingested a bag of cocaine during an arrest at a Round Lake Beach gas station last Wednesday. Courtesy of Julie Contreras

 
 
Updated 6/18/2020 12:06 PM
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that Heather Cognac is a detective with the Wauconda police department.

About 100 people gathered outside the Round Lake Beach Police Department Wednesday in a protest and vigil for a 21-year-old Round Lake man who was critical condition after, police say, he ingested a bag of cocaine during an arrest last week.

In a news release Wednesday, Round Lake Beach police said Abel Rosiles, 21, is showing no signs of brain activity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Pastor Julie Contreras of Our Lady of Suyapa Sanctuary Methodist Church in Wauconda, who described herself as an advocate for the family, helped organize the protest.

"He walked into that gas station alive and breathing, walked out in cuffs and now he's in an ICU fighting for his life," Contreras said.

According to police, Round Lake Beach officers first made contact with Rosiles about 11 p.m. June 10 at the Thornton's gas station on East Rollins Road. A gas station employee had called 911 because he said a customer was yelling at him.

A Round Lake Beach officer took Rosiles into custody for disorderly conduct, police said.

Rosiles broke away and ran about 30 feet before officers grabbed him, according to police. Officers then noticed Rosiles was having trouble breathing and asked him if he was choking, according to the news release. Rosiles nodded, and the officers began the Heimlich maneuver and called paramedics, police said.

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The officers attempted to clear Rosiles' airway but did not see anything lodged in the back of his throat. Rosiles began to lose consciousness so the officers removed the handcuffs and continued first aid, performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

The paramedics used a tool to extract a large plastic bag from Rosiles' throat, the release said. The powder in the bag field-tested positive for cocaine, police said.

Rosiles was rushed to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Frank Avila, an attorney hired by Rosiles' family, questioned how Rosiles would have been able to ingest a bag of cocaine while handcuffed.

Avila said Rosiles' girlfriend recorded the interaction with police on her cellphone. He said the footage disputes the official version of events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"If he's choking, the video doesn't show it," Avila said Wednesday, adding that police were "manhandling" Rosiles and his girlfriend. "He's cuffed in the video and his head is hitting the street and his body is between the street and the curb."

Wauconda Detective Heather Cognac, a spokeswoman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, said she spoke with Round Lake Beach Police Chief Gilbert Rivera and he said his department is working to release video footage from the officers' body cameras.

Round Lake Beach police requested the Lake County Major Crime Task Force conduct an independent investigation. Cognac said so far the task force has determined no evidence of police wrongdoing.

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