The daughter of a man who died while being held during a DUI arrest by the California Highway Patrol – after shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ almost a dozen times – says officials saw him in a newly released police video treating him ‘like rubbish’.
Edward Bronstein’s family has filed a lawsuit in connection with his death on March 31, 2020, demanding that the CHP officers who participated in the arrest be criminally charged in connection with his death.
Bronstein, a 38-year-old father of two, died while in police custody two months earlier George Floydan unarmed black man, was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes in a similar scene, as he, too, repeatedly told officers ‘I can not breathe.’
On Wednesday, Bronstein’s daughter Brianna Palomino and her lawyer, Michael Carillo, held a press conference following the court’s release of a gruesome 18-minute video that captured Bronstein’s last moments.
At the time, officials had arrested Bronstein on suspicion of driving under the influence. Things quickly changed when the police tried to confirm by drawing his blood – with his daughter later admitting that her father had suffered from a long fear of needles.
“My father was a good person,” Palomino said NBC4. ‘Nobody deserves to die this way. He was treated like rubbish, as if his life were not deserved. ‘
The woman said she wanted the officers involved in the arrest to be held accountable for her actions.
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Brianna Palomino, the daughter of Edward Bronstein, who died in 2020 in the custody of the California Highway Patrol, said during a press conference that her father was ‘treated like trash’
Bronstein protested against donating blood because he was afraid of needles, his family said
‘His screams, his face, they turn him around, it will live in my head forever and there is nothing more than justice and these officers pay for what they did,’ Palomino added, referring to the graphic content of ‘ the police images. “I wish Dad was here, every day, and there’s nothing that takes that away.”
Carillo, the family’s lawyer, beat the officers in the video for ignoring his desperate cry and apparently failed to provide assistance.
“He’s lifeless, he’s dead,” Carillo said. ‘He’s cold, he’s blue and instead of trying to save his life, they hit him in the face, thinking that would make a dead alarm clock.’
Bronstein was arrested for a suspected DUI but was taken to a police station after he refused to donate a blood sample, which his family says was due to a fear of needles.
Bronstein began to cry after he had stood face down on the ground shortly thereafter and later died, with attempts to revive him unsuccessful.
The California Highway Patrol had fought to keep the police video of the man’s arrest public after his family was charged with excessive use of force and civil rights, but a federal court judge ordered it released Tuesday.
Edward Bronstein, 38, died on March 31, 2020, less than two months before George Floyd was murdered by Minnesota police after he told officers several times ‘I can not breathe’
An 18-minute video of the arrest, taken by a California Highway Patrol sergeant in Pasadena, shows a handcuffed Bronstein, a father of two daughters, arguing with police as they lead him to a mat on the floor of ‘ the Altadena station garage and forces him to his knees to take a blood sample he had refused to give.
He pleads at first, but begins to cry in fear after being thrown face down on the ground.
‘I will do it with pleasure,’ Bronstein can be heard saying as two officers hover over him and a man can be heard warning him not to resist taking a court-ordered blood sample to determine his drunkenness.
‘You can just deliver it and still say you do not agree,’ the officer tells him as he continues to protest his treatment. “You are the one who brings the fight, not us.”
“I’m not fighting at all,” Bronstein says as an officer holds his hand on his shoulder.
‘Then sit down and give that arm. This is your last chance, ‘said the patrolman. ‘Otherwise you’re going to face down on the map and we’ll go on.’
Bronstein’s family said he was afraid of needles.
Officers swarmed Bronstein and pulled his legs out from under him, causing him to swing to the ground.
Five officers can be seen kneeling at him as he shouts, ‘I do it, I do it.’
‘Too late,’ says the officer. ‘We do not even pick you up yet. You need to relax. ‘
Then Bronstein says, ‘I can not breathe, I can not breathe.’
Edward Bronstein, pictured here with his daughter, Isabella, died in police custody after repeatedly telling police ‘I can not breathe’ as they knelt on his back to get a blood sample
Eventually, he stops moving and officers draw blood from his limp body.
A second video, more than 12 minutes long, shows the failed attempts of officers and paramedics to revive Bronstein.
They can be seen hitting him in the head and calling his name.
They turn him around and start giving him CPR and oxygen, but are not restored.
One officer tells paramedics that Bronstein had complained of ‘shortness of breath’.
“When we turned him around again, he turned blue,” he said.
George Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 in Minneapolis after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during a similar video arrest. Floyd’s death later became a call for the Black Lives Matter movement
Shortly thereafter, someone reminds the group, ‘Everyone is on camera.’
The LA County coroner’s office ruled Bronstein’s cause of death as’ acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement. A copy of the autopsy report was not immediately available.
The family is calling for the officers to be criminally charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office said “the case remains under review.”
“When the nation was up in arms over the George Floyd tragedy, we had no idea this had happened to Mr. Bronstein as well,” said Luis Carrillo, a lawyer for Bronstein’s family.
“In my opinion, the officials have shown disgusting contempt for the value of human life and their actions should be investigated as possible criminal conduct,” Bowling Green State University criminal law professor Philip Stinson told the Associated Press.
The Attorney General’s office represents the highway patrol and the officers in the federal court case and referred media questions to CHP.
Officer Shanelle Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for CHP, said the agency was refusing to comment on the case because of the ongoing lawsuit.
A 2021 law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom makes it illegal for police to curb suspicions with the face down, as the maneuver has led to multiple unintentional deaths. Inspired by the death of George Floyd, it was passed down after Bronstein died.
Eric Garner, 43, died in July 2014 in State Island, NY after officers used a prohibited chokehold on his neck.
For Floyd, Eric Garner died in 2014 in an arrest in which he also complained that he could not breathe. It turned out that the officials used a prohibited chokehold to subject him. His death, in part, launched the Black Lives Matter movement.
Stinson said the dangers are well known, but in this case the officers had prepared a mat so it looks like ‘this was a routine event for the officers to take someone down to the mat to face compliance. to get what they want. ‘
Moreover, her comments on camera seemed to indicate that she was out to teach someone a lesson: ‘Well, if you do not follow what we want you to do, we will do it hard way and it will be painful for you, ” said Stinson, who reviewed the video at the request of The Associated Press.
Finally, Stinson said, ‘It seemed like they were treating the incident as if the man was acting unconscious. It did not seem to register with the officials that there was a medical need for many, many minutes. ‘
Family members say Bronstein was apprehensive about needles and believe he was reluctant to meet the CHP initially when they tried to take a blood sample. In the video, an officer tells Bronstein that they have a court order – a claim that Carrillo’s doubts were true.
The officials acted in a way that the public will no longer tolerate, said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“This is just a completely explosive potential situation,” said O’Donnell, who also reviewed the video at AP’s request. ‘If they do not comply, the police can no longer have these wrestling matches with people, because the consequences are considered to be far above the risk.’
The trial names nine officers and one sergeant.
The officers are Carlos Villanueva, Christopher Sanchez-Romero, Darren Parsons, Diego Romero, Dusty Osmanson, Eric Voss, Justin Silva, Dionisio Fiorella and Marciel Terry. Also named is Sergeant Michael Little.
A lawyer for the medical professional said the company that employed him was ‘heartbroken’ to learn of the death.
Attorney John C. Kelly said in a statement that the company did not participate in the arrest or physical arrest of anyone, and simply takes blood samples for testing. They are not there to provide medical clearance or evaluation, and most do not have that training.
That was true in this case, he wrote, and when Bronstein did not respond, the company employee gave ‘some help he could under the circumstances’.
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