On Wednesday, prosecutors filed involuntary manslaughter charges against seven California Highway Patrol officers and a nurse concerning the 2020 death of a man who yelled, “I can’t breathe” while being detained by several cops as they attempted to draw blood.
The charges in the death of Edward Bronstein, which the LA County coroner determined was brought on by “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement,” were made public by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
During a press conference, Gascón stated, “The cops had a legal duty to Mr. Bronstein.” “They had him under their care. We think they were criminally negligent in failing to do their job, resulting in his death.
On March 31, 2020, Bronstein, 38, was detained after a traffic stop on the grounds of suspicion of drunk driving.
Less than two months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis while he, too, repeatedly informed cops, “I can’t breathe,” he passed away inside a CHP station in Altadena, north of downtown Los Angeles.
The father of Bronstein, who Luis Carrillo is representing, wrote in an email that he was “happy the CHP officers were charged with crimes since the CHP police killed a human life and left a family in anguish and sadness.”
After a judge’s order in an ongoing federal lawsuit that the man’s family filed against the cops, alleging excessive force and a violation of civil rights, a roughly 18-minute video depicting the officers’ treatment of Bronstein was made public last year.
According to family members, Bronstein was scared of needles, which is thought to be the reason why he first resisted cooperating with the CHP as they attempted to draw blood.
The sergeant recorded the incident, in which four cops force a shackled Bronstein to a floor mat while he cries, “I’ll do it freely! I’ll do it voluntarily, I swear! ”
Six officers are holding him face down; the lawsuit claims they put their knees on his back. He is still crying and pleading for help.
One of the officers answers, “It’s too late.” “Quit shouting! ” says another.
When Bronstein yells, a policeman says, “Just calm down and quit resisting!
Bronstein suddenly goes silent as his voice becomes softer. Despite his unconsciousness, the officers keep pinning him down while the nurse draws blood.
At 11 minutes after his last screams, they start CPR after realizing he may not have a pulse and doesn’t seem to be breathing.
They slap his face and cry, “Edward, wake up.”
Bronstein lost consciousness again and was subsequently declared dead.
CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee expressed his condolences to the family in a statement and emphasized that the agency’s top priority is the safety of all Californians.
The fact that Mr. Bronstein passed away while in our custody and care breaks my heart. Any death while a person is in jail is a tragedy, and we treat it seriously, Duryee added.
I understand this lawsuit will proceed to court, and I respect the legal system.
The seven CHP officers, Sgt. Michael Little and Officers Dionisio Fiorella, Dustin Osmanson, Darren Parsons, Diego Romero, Justin Silva, and Marciel Terry were placed on administrative leave on Wednesday.
They are each charged with one felony count of assault while in a position of authority and one count of involuntary manslaughter. They may stand trial and be found guilty.