Police release video footage of choking Round Lake man who later died

Video shows cop performing Heimlich, though not 1st encounter with Round Lake man

  • Abel Rosiles Jr. -- pictured with his sisters Fabiola, right, and Galalia -- has died after, police say, he ingested a bag of cocaine during an arrest at a Round Lake Beach gas station June 10.

    Abel Rosiles Jr. -- pictured with his sisters Fabiola, right, and Galalia -- has died after, police say, he ingested a bag of cocaine during an arrest at a Round Lake Beach gas station June 10. Photo courtesy Julie Contreras

 
 
Updated 6/21/2020 10:18 AM
Updated June 21 to correct that police that had body cameras at the scene were Round Lake and Round Lake Heights.

Round Lake Beach police have released 13 videos with more than six hours of body camera and squad car footage of their encounter with a Round Lake man who later died after police say he ingested a bag of cocaine.

While police said they released all the videos the department has, none of them shows police first approaching Abel Rosiles Jr., 21, about 11 p.m. June 10 at the Thornton's gas station on East Rollins Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Round Lake Beach police don't have body cameras, and so that footage came from officers from Round Lake and Round Lake Heights who arrived later to assist at the scene, Deputy Chief Wayne Wilde said Saturday night. There is footage of the initial encounter from Thornton's gas station cameras, but that is held by the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, which is investigating the death and it wasn't available for release, he said.

A gas station employee had called 911 because he said a customer was yelling at him, police said.

Rosiles was taken into custody for disorderly conduct, but broke away and ran about 30 feet before officers grabbed him, according to police.

While he was in custody, officers noticed he was having trouble breathing and asked him if he was choking. Rosiles nodded. The body camera footage shows an officer performing the Heimlich maneuver on Rosiles.

"He's breathing. I've got his stomach moving up and down," an officer says in the video. "He's breathing, just keep his airway open till they get there."

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Rosiles began to lose consciousness so police removed the handcuffs and continued first aid until paramedics arrived, police said.

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

Wilde said police don't know when Rosiles swallowed the bag of cocaine. He was put on the ground twice, once for an initial search, and later after he had trouble breathing, he said. Four officers were on the scene, but two of them were drawn away for a time by a friend of Rosiles' who tried to intervene, Wilde said.

Rosiles was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Eight days later, at 3:53 a.m. June 18, the Lake County coroner's office was notified that he had died. An autopsy on Rosiles was performed at 1:05 p.m. Thursday. The results of the autopsy and toxicology tests are pending, according to the coroner's office.

The day before Rosiles died, about 100 people gathered outside the Round Lake Beach Police Department in a protest and vigil. The Rev. Julie Contreras of Our Lady of Suyapa Sanctuary Methodist Church in Wauconda, who helped organize the event, and Frank Avila, an attorney hired by Rosiles' family, questioned how police handled the arrest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Avila declined to comment on the videos Saturday, but said he expected to have more to say today.

"Any loss of life is difficult, and this is a traumatic situation for everyone involved," police said in a statement posted Friday to the department's Facebook page, also linking to the videos on YouTube.

"The investigation is not complete, and there are still many unanswered questions," the statement said. "Even while the independent, external investigation is underway, everyone must have access to the video of what took place. Transparency and accountability remain core values of the Round Lake Beach Police Department."

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