When Maria Quinto-Collins began filming her son at her home in Antioch, Calif. On December 23, he was already on the floor, unresponsive.
In the footage, a pair of officers from the Antioch Police Department can be seen rolling the son, Angelo Quinto, from his stomach to the side. Ms. Quinto-Collins can be heard repeatedly asking, “What happened?”
Mr. Quinto, 30, never regained consciousness; He died three days later. Last week, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. He said the two officers, who had responded to a call from Mr Quinto’s sister, knelt on Mr Quinto’s back for nearly five minutes to restrain him and that he was “deceased as a direct result. of unreasonable force used against him. “
The claim, which seeks punitive damages, was filed on Feb. 18 against Antioch, which is in Contra Costa County, about 45 miles east of San Francisco. The city has 45 days to respond.
Last week, the East Bay Times reported that police did not publicly share information about Mr Quinto’s death until the newspaper asked them about the case late last month . Since then, the case has gained national attention – in part because it seemed to echo the murder of George Floyd, who died in May after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knocked his knee into his chest. neck for more than eight minutes, prompting protests against racism and police brutality.
John Burris, an attorney for Mr Quinto’s family, said on Wednesday Mr Quinto’s mother and sister were traumatized and grieving and questioned the decision to invite police to their home. “They thought they were calling the police for help,” Burris said.
He added that the family were awaiting the results of an autopsy from an independent medical examiner. “We are convinced that this is a case of asphyxiation,” he said.
Antioch police did not respond to a request for comment. But at a press conference on Wednesday – which was organized to share information about another man who died in custody early Wednesday morning – Tammany Brooks, chief of the police department, said the investigation into the death of Mr. Quinto continued.
According to the wrongful death complaint, Mr. Quinto suffered from anxiety and depression at times, and he appeared to be suffering from paranoia on the night of December 23. His sister, Isabella Collins, called the police, expressing her fear to the dispatcher.
When police arrived, Ms Quinto-Collins was holding her son in her arms to calm him down, according to the complaint. The police pushed him away and Mr. Quinto asked them not to kill him, according to the statement.
Then, according to the claim, he was restrained on the floor of his mother’s bedroom and handcuffed while officers – first one, then the other – placed their legs against his neck to press him down. . Blood stains appeared under Mr. Quinto’s face.
“At no time during his detention did Mr. Quinto resist physically or verbally,” says the complaint. “After being immobilized for almost five minutes, Mr. Quinto became lifeless.
It was around this time that her mother started filming. The footage shows rescuers looking for signs of life – Ms Quinto-Collins can be heard asking if her son has a pulse – then giving chest compressions.
The Contra Costa County coroner, who is part of the sheriff’s office, could not be reached on Wednesday, but told CNN the cause of death had not yet been disclosed.
The mayor of Antioch, Lamar Thorpe, told a press conference on Monday that he visited the Quinto family and offered them his condolences. “I don’t know all the details,” he says. “Full details remain to be seen, as the prosecutor’s office is currently conducting an active investigation.”
A spokesperson for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office confirmed the case is under investigation, as is the protocol for every death involving law enforcement.
Mr Thorpe, who became mayor in December after campaigning on calls for police reform, announced a list of reform measures on Monday. They include the creation of a mental health crisis response team and the use of body cameras, which are not currently in use in Antioch.