A 30-year-old Northern California man suffering from a mental health crisis died days after police officers knelt on his neck for nearly five minutes to subdue him, lawyers for his family said.
Angelo Quinto had been “suffering from anxiety, depression and paranoia for the past months,” his family’s attorneys said in a wrongful death lawsuit, filed Feb. 18.
His sister, Isabella Collins, called police at her home in Antioch, California, on December 23, because she feared he would hurt her mother, the family’s attorney, John L. Burris, said during a news conference, on February 18.
Before the police arrived, Quinto’s mother had held him to her chest with her hands clasped around his back for a few minutes and “he had already begun to calm down,” the complaint said.
When two officers from the Antioch Police Department arrived, Burris said they made no attempt to understand the situation and instead immediately took Quinto from his mother’s arms.
Quinto lost consciousness and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead three days later, family attorneys say in the lawsuit.
Maria Quinto-Collins, Quinto’s mother, used her cell phone to record part of the incident.
“What happened?” He says breathlessly when he sees Quintus motionless and lying face down. The officers turn him to remove his body and his face is bloody. They take him to a stretcher and paramedics administer chest compressions to Quinto while his mother records on her phone, asking questions.
It was not clear from the video if the officers were wearing body cameras.
“As far as we know, no,” Burris said last week.
The death of Quinto, without investigations
In the nearly two months since Quinto’s death, the police have not issued a press release on the incident. The Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Forensic Division did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
“These Antioch Police officers had already handcuffed Angelo but did not stop their assault on the young man and inexplicably began to use the ‘George Floyd’ technique of placing a knee on the back and side of his neck, ignoring the pleas of the Mr. Fifth of ‘please don’t kill me’,” Burris said.
Quinto’s cause of death is still pending, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office of the Coroner told Citizen Free Press on Monday. His death is being investigated by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Isabella Collins said she called the police in hopes they would help defuse the situation.
“I don’t think I will ever feel bad,” she told Citizen Free Press affiliate KGO. If it was the right thing to do, my brother wouldn’t have died.
The Antioch city clerk and the District Attorney’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.
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