California

Edward Bronstein’s family call for cops to face criminal charges in his death

Cradling his eldest daughter and smiling broadly, this is California father-of-five Edward Bronstein, 38, pictured in happier times 20 years before he died screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ during a bungled blood test carried out by California Highway Patrol officers.

Bodycam footage of his death was only released last week under court order after his family sued the city of Los Angeles – claiming excessive use of force and violation of his civil rights. 

The footage, which has chilling echoes of the moment George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, shows four cops kneeling on Bronstein’s back as he says he can’t breathe 11 times before fainting. The identities of the officers have not been released.

Bronstein, a former member of LA street gang the North Hollywood Boyz, was pulled over for a suspected DUI on March 31, 2020 — two months before Floyd was killed.

 He was taken to a police precinct in Altadena, California, after refusing to give blood due to a fear of needles.

A second clip shows cops attempting to revive Bronstein but to no avail.

A young Edward Bronstein is seen cradling his eldest daughter Brianna, now 22, alongside then-girlfriend Zully Sosa in a photo taken 20 years before he died in police custody 

Footage of his 2020 arrest was publicly released last week after his family sued over excessive use of force and civil rights violations

Footage of his 2020 arrest was publicly released last week after his family sued over excessive use of force and civil rights violations 

Bronstein, 38, died in police custody after being pulled over for a suspected DUI on March 31, 2020, less than two months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota after repeatedly telling officers 'I can't breathe'

Bronstein, 38, died in police custody after being pulled over for a suspected DUI on March 31, 2020, less than two months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota after repeatedly telling officers ‘I can’t breathe’

His father Edward Tapia, 76, told DailyMail.com he has watched the distressing video.

He said: ‘I felt sad, angry. Just really sad. It was disgusting – they were like animals on top of him. It was bad. I cried. I couldn’t hold my tears.’

He added: ‘We want criminal charges. We want them to be prosecuted. I just can’t believe they’re still working.

‘We definitely want them prosecuted for the murder of my son. It was disgusting. It was just unspeakable.’

His family told DailyMail.com that the dad-of-five had turned his life around before he died: working with his father at his body shop business and being a devoted single dad to his youngest daughter Isabella, 12.

Tapia said: ‘He worked with me and we did a lot of things together. He was the world to me. We got on real great.  

‘We had our problems once in a while but we were friends together. He was my son. He was my life. We worked together and I was hoping that I could give him my business.

‘I retired but he was still strong and could work and I was like, “OK, take over my business”, but they killed him, so…’

Bronstein grew up in the LA suburb of Burbank and enjoyed an idyllic early childhood with dad Edward and mom Cheryl Tapia-Rufener, 64.

A young Edward Bronstein pictured with his mother Cheryl Tapia-Rufener, now 64, and brother Jeffrey Bronstein, now 44

A young Edward Bronstein pictured with his mother Cheryl Tapia-Rufener, now 64, and brother Jeffrey Bronstein, now 44

According to his family, Bronstein had turned his life around before his death, working with his father at his body shop business and being a devoted single dad to his youngest daughter Isabella, 12, (pictured)

Bronstein and Isabella

According to his family, Bronstein had turned his life around before his death, working with his father at his body shop business and being a devoted single dad to his youngest daughter Isabella, 12, (pictured) 

But when he was 12, the Tapias split up – with Bronstein, who was known to his mother as Bubba, moving with her to the mountain town of Big Bear 70 miles away while his older brother Jeffrey, then 16, moved in with friends.

Retired realtor Tapia-Rufener said her son found the change difficult. 

‘I had been a stay at home mom – I took my kids to school, we did a little baseball, school things,’ she told DailyMail.com. 

‘When I left, I had to get a job. He was going to elementary school at first but when he got into junior high, he started stealing from me, he started running away, he started not coming home for days.

‘I spent endless nights crying myself to sleep thinking my son’s going to get killed somewhere. ‘He said: “Mom, it’s not the way it used to be”. 

‘I’ll never forget that.

‘I explained I was doing my best, I still drove him to school but I think by that point, I had lost him. I had lost him to the kids on the street and the parents who would harbor them.

‘Whatever he was into, he was already into it. Once he came home and he hadn’t been home for a week and when he came home, I remember him sleeping for days and then waking up and disappearing again.

‘I couldn’t handle the staying at home crying constantly so I quit my jobs and went on welfare for one year. In that one year, I still lost him.’

Bronstein's family sued the State of California and the California Highway Patrol for excessive use of force and violation of his civil rights

Bronstein’s family sued the State of California and the California Highway Patrol for excessive use of force and violation of his civil rights

Bronstein returned to live with his father and was swiftly sucked into gang life – becoming a member of the North Hollywood Boyz.

He also became a father himself: first to Brianna Palomino, 22, whose mother is Zully Sosa, 41, then to Edward Jr, 20, with another woman named Karen Chavez, 40.

Around the same time, Bronstein also had his first run-ins with the law: court records show a conviction for battery in June 2001 which saw him get 36 months-probation and 150 hours working at the California Department of Transportation.

In November 2003, he was convicted of domestic violence for a second time, along with a DUI.

As a result, he spent 90 days in the LA County Jail, got 36 months-probation, was ordered to work for Cal Trans for 45 days and told to attend a three-month alcohol counseling program.

His mother says he found it hard to escape gang life and so he briefly returned to live with her after being released from jail.

She said: ‘I snatched him up from the San Fernando Valley because of this gang. Apparently he didn’t know what he was getting into.

‘I went down there and visited with him and he was terrified – he was telling me these stories about how his best friend died in his arms and he didn’t want to be here.

‘I said, “go get your stuff and throw it in the truck because I’m taking you home”. When I brought him home, he was hateful.

‘He hated me. I drove him everywhere, I took him for haircuts, for new clothes to cover up all his tattoos. He was terrified to walk any street because the gangs were after him.

‘I guess you don’t just leave a gang and walk out – he did.’

Bronstein had a number of legal pourt records, the pair divorced in 2016 with Miller obtaining a restraining order

Bronstein had his share of legal problems over the years, and was hit with a restraining order by his ex-wife Deborah Miller during their divorce in 2016 

By 2005, Bronstein was living in Anaheim with a woman named Aundrea Wagner, now 42, with whom he has two more children: Elly and Abraham.

But the relationship appears to have been troubled, with court records showing that Bronstein notched up a string of appearances over domestic abuse with Aundrea listed as the victim.

In December 2005, he was sentenced to a year’s probation and fined $620, along with 45 days in the Orange County Jail.

George Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 in Minneapolis after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest

George Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 in Minneapolis after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest

He was also told to take part in a Domestic Violence Batterer’s Program. 

One month later, he violated his probation and was sent to jail.

The following year, Bronstein moved to Santa Monica where he lived with Catalina Marzano, 51, the mother of his youngest child Isabella who was born in 2006.

But the brushes with the law kept coming: in July 2008 he was arrested twice, once for speeding and once for DUI which sent him back to jail for 45 days and put him back on probation for 60 months.

January 2011 and May 2011 saw two further convictions for domestic violence and another for DUI which sent him to jail for 60 days and 120 days for the abuse and another 30 for the DUI.

He was also placed on probation and ordered to work for Cal Trans.

In 2012, he was twice convicted of driving on a suspended license – and was sent back to jail for a further 10 days and handed another 36 months-probation.

But this time, the jail time appeared to work and by the time he died, Bronstein hadn’t been in trouble for almost eight years.

Brianna Palomino, Bronstein's eldest daughter, said during a press conference that her father was 'treated like trash'

Brianna Palomino, Bronstein’s eldest daughter, said during a press conference that her father was ‘treated like trash’ 

By 2014, he and Marzano had split and he was married to a woman named Deborah Miller, now 61.

According to court records, the pair divorced in 2016 with Miller obtaining a restraining order that prevented him coming near her or her son and forbidding him from attacking ‘Pogi the cat and all fish tanks’.

His father says he had knuckled down by the time of his death and was on nothing stronger than pain medication when he died – despite the LA County Coroner saying his death was caused by meth.  

An 18-minute video of Bronstein’s arrest, taken by a California Highway Patrol sergeant, shows a handcuffed Bronstein arguing with police as they lead him to a mat on the floor of the Altadena station garage and force him to his knees to take a blood sample he’d refused to give.

He initially argues, but begins screaming with fear after being flung to the ground face down.

‘I’ll do it willingly,’ 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 intoxication level.  

‘You can just provide it and still say you don’t consent,’ the officer tells him as he continues to protest his treatment. ‘You’re the one bringing the fight, not us.’

‘I’m not fighting at all,’ Bronstein says as an officer keeps his hand on his shoulder.

‘Then have a seat and provide you arm. This is your last opportunity,’ the patrolman said. ‘Otherwise you’re going to go face down on the map and we’re going to keep on going.’ 

Officers swarm Bronstein and pull his legs out from under him, causing him to squirm on the ground.

Five officers can be seen kneeling on him as he screams ‘I’ll do it willingly, I’ll do it willingly.’

‘Too late,’ the officer says. ‘We’re not even poking you yet. You need to relax.’

Then Bronstein repeatedly says, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’ before fallig silent and limp.

Bronstein’s father said: ‘I want him to be remembered as a good person, a loving person, a kind person who got along with everybody.

‘He’s a great loss to me. He and I were always together, he and his daughter were always together. He took better care of her than he took of himself – he did everything.’

He added: ‘We all feel the same – we’re disgusted and sad. What they did, I’ve never seen such a thing. What really upsets me is why they did that and then hid it.

‘They put on a show and said what they did was right – but they were wrong all along as the video shows.

‘He didn’t curse at them, he talked to them right, he didn’t seem drugged, he obeyed everything and then he was murdered.’

Tapia-Rufener said: ‘I don’t think they should get away with that. No way. They should all be fired. It’s horrible.

‘What would make cops so angry they would do something like that? Four cops got on top of him and just crushed him. ‘ 

Edward Bronstein’s family call for cops to face criminal charges in his death Source link Edward Bronstein’s family call for cops to face criminal charges in his death

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