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A family in California whose son died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly five minutes during a mental health crisis has filed a legal claim saying they plan to sue the police department for wrongful death.
Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Navy veteran who was born in the Philippines, died on December 26, 2020, three days after his encounter with police at his family’s Antioch, California, home.
Quinto’s family told the San Francisco Chronicle that Quinto experienced paranoia and anxiety, and his sister called 911 when he started acting erratically on December 23.
When police arrived, Quinto on the floor in his mother Cassandra Quinto-Collins’s arms. Officers then flipped Quinto on to his stomach to restrain him, The Chronicle reported.
A lawyer for Quinto’s family, John Burris, told Insider that Quinto had pleaded for his life as the police officers restrained him.
“Police came and snatched him from his mom,” Burris said. “He said ‘please don’t kill me,’ and officers said ‘We’re not going to do that,’ and yet they did.”
When police realized Quinto was no longer responding, they handcuffed him and put him on to a mobile stretcher and performed chest compressions, The Washington Post reported. Quinto died three days later.
Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident.
A spokesperson for the county would not provide a comment to Insider, citing the ongoing investigation.
The Antioch Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment on the case.
However, Burris announced last week that Quinto’s family planned to sue the Antioch Police Department and filed a legal claim in court officially announcing his plan.
He told Insider that along with damages, the family is also calling for reform in the police department, including better mental health response and for the use-of-force technique involving a knee on someone’s neck to be eliminated from training.
Burris told The Post that police have not released information on the case to Quinto’s family, and that the officers involved in the incident were not wearing body cameras.
“This was a healthy person before, no physical problems, and within moments, his life is gone,” Burris said.