GRAHAM (KFDX/KJTL) — The brother and sister of a man found unresponsive in Graham police custody believe their brother was a victim of negligence that resulted in his death.
Eric Montano died Thursday night after police said he wrapped a seatbelt around his neck in a police vehicle.
Montano’s sister Elia Olvera was able to view the patrol unit camera and body camera footage
She said there’s no evidence of police brutality. Instead, she and her brother, Elmer, believe with different steps, Montano would still be alive
Graham police pulled Eric Montano over on June 3 after Graham Police Chief Brent Bullock said an initial caller told officers Montano was her estranged husband and that he forced his way into her home and assaulted her.
He was arrested after police made contact with him in a parking lot in the 1200 block of Brazos Street.
“My brother was already out on bond, and I knew this was it for him, you know, he was going to be doing some real time,” Montano’s brother Elmer Montano said. “We already knew that he had a strike left. He doesn’t even live in Graham, but he pays for that home there.”
Bullock said officers were familiar with Montano due to multiple calls in the past
Olvera said she can’t believe what she saw from the patrol vehicle camera and officer body cam.
“The cop said, before he closed my brother’s door, he told him ‘I hope they bail you out,” Olvera said. “My brother had mental issues going on with his brain. He’s always had mental problems, and when you tell someone that, it takes within seconds for you to say ‘oh my God, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?”
Olvera believes that comment allegedly made by an officer might’ve triggered what happened next.
“Like 15 seconds later, my brother already arrested with his handcuffs, he was able to strap around the seatbelt, around his neck, he locked it and he went back. I heard him gurgle. I heard him lose his last breath,” Olvera said. “I wrote down notes because I wanted to know how long he was left alone, and it was six minutes.”
Bullock said officers immediately started CPR and called for medical assistance, Olvera claiming it was medical negligence.
“I work in the medical field,” Olvera said. “They did not do the appropriate CPR that my brother needed. They only did chest compressions very, very light, and they did not do the breaths. You have to do two breaths. Thirty compressions with two breaths.”
Olvera said two officers tried CPR back to back without breaths and without hurrying to get an AED.
Montano was taken by ambulance to Graham Regional Medical Center and was later air-lifted to United Regional.
Montano died June 11 after being taken off life support.
“I want to hold that police department, I want to hold those officers, accountable because even in the military, you move with a sense of urgency,” Elmer Montano said.
Olvera and Elmer Montano believe police departments should have better training and protocol to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
The Texas Rangers and Graham Police Department are continuing to investigate.
Texoma’s Homepage reached out to Chief Bullock and requested footage from DPS. There’s been no response yet from either party.