EXCLUSIVE: Family of Columbus man who died after arrest speaks o - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

EXCLUSIVE: Family of Columbus man who died after arrest speaks out

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

The family of the Columbus man who died one day after he was arrested by police is sharing their side of the story. 

Hector Arreola, 30, was arrested early Monday morning for disorderly conduct and injured during the incident. He later passed away on Tuesday at the hospital.

The Columbus Police Department called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as a neutral party to look into the incident.

We sat down with the Arreola family on Thursday, who gave their version of the moments when they witnessed him being arrested.

Hector’s father Rodrigo began by reading off this statement from the family.

"The officers slammed him to the ground, thrust his face and head into the ground, one officer was seen kneeling on the back of Hector's neck."

Rodrigo said his wife witnessed the arrest.

"You never know how deep it cuts until it hits home," Rodrigo said.

The family says Hector passed out in the ambulance and never regained consciousness. 

"He started having convulsions and went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance before he arrived at the medical center," Rodrigo said.

Mayor Theresa Tomlinson, who is the Head of Public Safety in Columbus, says they're not sure if Hector suffered from some type of pre-existing condition that may have led to his death.

"The officers called for help in an ambulance... too late for my son... he was gone,” Rodrigo said.

"We lost someone that meant a lot to us, and we can't get him back," said Hector’s sister Patricia.

Now, the family is calling for unity moving forward.

"We want the community to be aware of the behavior of our police force, to stand with us, to stand for justice, and to be aware that this is happening here in this community," Rodrigo said.

Even with unity, the family says they will never be the same.

"No parent should ever have to bury their children,” Rodrigo said.

The family says they have a lot of respect for the police force in Columbus, but want justice for their son.

We reached out to Columbus Police Department for comment and were referred to the GBI. So far, we have not received a response.

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