3 CPD officers involved in arrest that led to man’s death - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

3 CPD officers involved in arrest that led to man’s death

Hector Arreola (Source: Stacey Jackson) Hector Arreola (Source: Stacey Jackson)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Details are surfacing as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into how a Columbus man died after being detained by local police

Hector Arreola, 30, died Tuesday afternoon after he was arrested for disorderly conduct early Monday on Moss Drive.

Two Columbus Police officers, Mike Aguilar and Brian Dudley, have since been placed on administrative assignment.

Officials have now confirmed a third officer also was at the scene on Moss Drive. The third officer was called in to help Aguilar and Dudley after Arreola had been handcuffed.

Attorney Stacey Jackson, who is representing Arreola's family, said Arreola called police twice to check on his mother. 

Jackson also said Arreola was not at the house on Moss Drive but he did encounter police on their second trip to the home.

At this moment, investigators have not been able to confirm why Arreola was handcuffed and arrested, despite being the person who, according to Jackson, called Columbus police.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been brought in, as a neutral party, to determine what led to the 30-year-old man's death.

G.B.I. Special Agent Fred Wimberly, who is based in Columbus, said when an officer must use force and a citizen is injured, the community expects a thorough investigation regarding how someone was injured.

"In this particular case," Wimberly said, "the Columbus Police Department wanted a neutral party – namely, the G.B.I. – to investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury."

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, the city's top public safety official, said based on her conversations with investigators, she believes Arreola's death may not have been a direct result of the injuries he sustained Monday morning.

"There appears to be some sort of pre-existing condition," Tomlinson said. "We need to wait for the autopsy and of course, the G.B.I. investigation, to determine whether or not that was the cause of the death. But, we do believe there was some sort of pre-existing condition."

After seeing his late client lying in a bed at Midtown Medical Center, Jackson said he finds the idea of Arreola having a preexisting condition hard to believe.

"The shape that Mr. Arreola was in… I mean, it's insane," Jackson said. "There was blood in his hair. There were obviously contusions to his head and other head trauma. He had a brace that was on his neck, which leads one to believe that, obviously, there could have been a neck injury."

We contacted the G.B.I. crime lab in Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. The office confirmed Arreola's body was inside the lab and his autopsy was finished earlier in the day.

There is no word yet on when the official report will be released, but a funeral home has been notified to pick the body up.

As for the two officers currently on administrative assignment, Mayor Tomlinson said they've been put to work inside the public safety building, working calls and other tasks as the G.B.I. continues to piece all the parts of the investigation.

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