SAN FRANCISCO – A Navy veteran who was going through an episode of paranoia has died after a northern California policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes, his family said on Tuesday.
Angelo Quinto’s family called the police on December 23 because the 30-year-old was suffering from a mental health crisis and needed help. His family say an officer who responded knelt on Quinto’s neck for nearly five minutes while another officer restrained his legs. Quinto lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he died three days later.
“He said ‘Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me ”as they knocked him down. They handcuffed him and an officer put his knee on the back of his neck the entire time I was in the room, “Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collins said.
Quinto-Collins said she hugged her son and he was calm when police arrived at their home in Antioch, 70 kilometers east of San Francisco.
“I trusted the police because I thought they knew what they were doing, but he was actually passive and obviously not dangerous or a threat, so it was absolutely useless what they did to him. “she said.
A video recorded by Quinto-Collins shows his apathetic son, his face bloodied and his hands cuffed behind his back. She said she started recording after seeing her son’s eyes rolled back into his head.
The family filed a complaint against the Antioch Police Department last week, giving the department 45 days to respond. Once that time has passed, the family will file a federal lawsuit, said John Burris, counsel for the Quintos.
“I call it the George Floyd technique, that’s what killed him and it can’t be a legal technique,” Burris said. “We see not only violations of his civil rights but also violations of the rights of his mother and sister, who saw what happened to him.
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and said he couldn’t breathe.
Burris said there were other issues with the agents’ response, including how they didn’t try to defuse and talk to Quinto first, and how they didn’t turn on their body cameras and the camera from their patrol car.
The cause of death has not been disclosed by authorities and an independent autopsy is underway, Burris said.
The Antioch Police Department did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment on Tuesday.
The department did not notify the public of Quinto’s death until January 25 when it responded surveys by East Bay Times.
After the lawsuit was filed on Thursday, Antioch police lieutenant Tarra Mendes told the newspaper that “the investigation is still ongoing. We want it to be finished. As soon as it is finished, we will be able to provide more information to the public.
Quinto, who was born in the Philippines, was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2019 due to a food allergy, his sister, Bella Collins said.
He suffered from depression most of his life, but his behavior changed after an apparent assault in early 2020, when he woke up in a hospital without remembering what had happened and with stitches suture and serious injury. After that, he started having episodes of paranoia and anxiety, she said.
Collins, 18, said she now regrets calling the police after fearing that her brother, who before the police arrived hugged her and their mother tightly, could injure their mother.
“I asked the detectives if there was another number I should have called, and they told me there wasn’t and that I had done the right thing. But for now, I can tell you that the right thing wouldn’t have killed my brother, ”she said.