Prosecutors Wednesday charged seven California Highway Patrol officers and a nurse with manslaughter. male deaths in 2020 He yelled, “I can’t breathe,” as officers restrained him trying to take a blood sample.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has announced a charge in the death of Edward Bronstein. The Los Angeles County coroner said “acute methamphetamine poisoning while in law enforcement custody” was the cause.
“Police officers had a legal obligation to Mr Bronstein,” Mr Gascon said at a press conference. “He was in their custody. We believe they neglected their duties and their negligence was criminal negligence and caused his death.”
Bronstein, 38, was taken into custody on March 31, 2020 after a traffic stop on suspicion of driving under the influence. He died at his CHP station in Altadena, north of downtown Los Angeles, after George Floyd repeatedly told officers he too “can’t breathe” to Minneapolis police.
Luis Carrillo, an attorney representing Bronstein’s father, said his client “reported that the CHP officers were indicted because they took lives and left families in grief and grief.” I am delighted,” he said in an email.
Carolo told CBS News that Bronstein had only “trace amounts” of methamphetamine in his system, and claimed that Bronstein’s death was largely caused by the actions of police officers. He said his blood alcohol content was 0.07%, which was just below the legal limit.
The roughly 18-minute video showing Bronstein’s police treatment was released last year following a judge’s order in an ongoing federal lawsuit filed by the man’s family against the officers, alleging excessive violence and civil rights violations. claimed infringement.
The family said Bronstein was afraid of needles, and believe that’s why he was reluctant to follow CHP when he first tried to take a blood sample.
Video taken by the sergeant shows several officers pushing the handcuffed Bronstein onto the floor mat as he shouts, “I’ll gladly do it! I’ll gladly do it, I promise!” is reflected.
He continues to scream as six police officers hold him face down, and the lawsuit claims they put their knees on his back.
“It’s too late,” replies one policeman. “Don’t shout!” Another shout.
“I can’t breathe!”
However, Bronstein’s voice softens and then goes silent. While he is unresponsive, the nurses continue to draw blood and the police continue to immobilize him.
After noticing that he had no pulse and did not appear to be breathing, they slapped him in the face and said, “Edward, wake up.” They started CPR on him after he had been over 11 minutes since his last scream.
Bronstein never regained consciousness and was later pronounced dead.
In a statement, CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee expressed condolences to the bereaved families and said the agency’s mission is to put the safety of all Californians first.
“I am saddened by the death of Mr. Bronstein in our custody. His death in custody is a tragedy and we take it seriously,” Duryea said. We recognize that people go through the court system and we respect the judicial process.”
The seven CHP agents who took a leave of absence Wednesday were identified as sergeants. Michael Little with officers Dionisio Fiorella, Dustin Osmanson, Darren Parsons, Diego Romero, Justin Silva and Marchelle Terry.
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Tiffany Bracknell said as of Wednesday night, no one had turned in.
“They will arrange surrender,” Bracknell said.
They face one count each of involuntary manslaughter and felony assault under the guise of authority. If convicted, they could face up to four years in prison.
It was not immediately clear if they had lawyers who could speak on their behalf, and the California Highway Patrol Association, the union representing CHP officers in general, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. I did.
Arbi Baghalian, a registered nurse, was also charged with manslaughter.
John Kelly, an attorney at Vital Medical, Bagarian’s employer, said in a statement, “It is legal for the attorney’s office to charge a registered nurse (who was present at a legal blood draw) with manslaughter. I think it’s irresponsible outside,” he said. “I do not know anyone who has opined that the nurse’s actions in any way caused or contributed to this unfortunate death.”
No arraignment has yet been scheduled.
Bronstein’s death prompted the CHP to change its policy to prevent officers from “using techniques or transportation methods that pose a positional suffocation risk,” the agency said. Additional training for uniformed officers was also ordered.
In September 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law banning police from using certain face-down holds that have led to multiple unintentional deaths. The bill was meant to expand the state’s ban on chokeholds in the wake of Floyd’s murder.