Luis Solano’s family says he appeared healthy when he entered jail on Feb. 21.
Four days later, after a three-minute struggle with four corrections officers, Solano, 38, couldn’t breathe and lost consciousness, Las Vegas police said. He died March 6.
What happened during that confrontation between jail personnel and Solano, who was in the Clark County Detention Center on drug-dealing charges, remains anybody’s guess.
Solano’s family and lawyer Matthew Callister said Thursday that police should end the speculation by releasing the video of the altercation.
“If there is nothing inappropriate, why not release it?” Callister asked. “The video would answer numerous questions.”
Solano’s family has made several requests to police and the Clark County district attorney’s office to release the video.
Callister sent a letter Wednesday to Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody, who oversees the county jail, requesting the footage.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Solano family and Callister hadn’t received a response from authorities.
Police, who have said only that Solano was being uncooperative before the encounter with jail guards, did not return calls for comment Thursday.
“I don’t know if they did or didn’t know how to treat the situation, or if they made the situation worse,” said Solano’s daughter, Carmen, 18. “We are not going to know until that video is released.”
Four corrections officers were placed on routine paid leave pending an internal investigation after Solano’s death.
They are Corrections Sgt. David Aspiazu, 38, hired in 2001; Corrections officer Bradley Temple, 44, hired in August 2000; Corrections officer Patrick Gray, 48, hired in September 2003; and Corrections officer Eugene Dixon, 49, hired in August 2000.
The Clark County coroner’s office has not released Solano’s cause and manner of death. That determination is not expected to be made public for weeks.
Adding to the Solano family’s frustration is their inability to learn what, if anything, jail employees knew of Solano’s medical history.
Solano, who stood about 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 250 pounds, was on medication to treat anxiety and inflammation of his stomach lining.
Police say that Solano was the head of a family cocaine business. He faced several charges, including conspiracy to violate the uniform controlled substances act, trafficking in controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
Carmen Solano has acknowledged that her father dealt illegal drugs but maintains he did not use them, his family said.
Solano told investigators who raided his apartment on Feb. 21 that he had been unemployed for years. His main sources of income were from selling cocaine and gambling professionally, according to a police report.
At his apartment on West Flamingo Road, investigators seized nearly $55,000 in cash. They also seized more than 2 pounds of cocaine and more than 3 ounces of marijuana, the report said.
Investigators raided the apartment after an undercover officer reported he bought drugs from Solano’s nephew, Tony Zamora, four times in January and February.
Zamora, 22, was also arrested.
Las Vegas police came under scrutiny last year after several inmate deaths.
In January 2012, four men died after being detained by police.
According to the coroner’s office, two died from accidental drug overdoses, one of whom swallowed a bag of cocaine. The other two men died from natural causes because of medical conditions.
Solano’s wife, Ima Iliu Flores Zelaya, is seven-weeks pregnant. Solano’s unborn child would have been his seventh, his family said.
Solano’s wife said Thursday she believes jail guards contributed to her late husband’s death. She said that regardless of the charges against him, there is no justification for it.
Flores Zelaya said that at the minimum, the jail guards need to be fired. She is offended that they are on paid leave.
Carmen Solano said her father was loved by many. He had several relatives who looked at him as a father figure.
She graduates in June from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts. She hopes to be a lawyer one day.
Fighting back tears, Carmen Solano said her father will miss out on many milestones in her life.
“He won’t be there to walk me down the aisle,” she said. “He won’t be there to see the birth of his first grandchild. ... No matter what the charges were, he was still a human.”
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@review journal.com or 702-383-4638.