De@th of Man in California Police Custody to Cost State $24 Million

Edward Bronstein, who passed away in police custody three years ago after repeatedly shouting, “I can’t breathe,” while a cop squatted on his back, was poised to receive $24 million as part of a settlement, lawyers said on Tuesday.

On March 31, 2020, Mr. Bronstein, 38, was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers who thought he was operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. They then attempted to take a blood sample from him.

They tossed him face down on a mat when he questioned the need for a sample, as seen on film. He appeared to lose consciousness after being stuck for a while, and later that morning, paramedics declared him de@d.

“There was justice in the civil case — now we want justice with the criminal case,” said Luis Carillo, one of five lawyers helping represent Mr. Bronstein’s family. “We want them to pay in jail for taking a human life. These officers had no reverence for human life. They k!lled an innocent man.”

California to Pay $24 Million for Man’s Death
California to Pay $24 Million for Man’s Death

Seven highway patrol officers and one nurse connected to the crime were charged with involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles County in March. They have entered a not-guilty plea. A portion of the $24 million will also be paid by Vital Medical Services as part of the settlement, but most of it will go to the state of California.

The civil rights settlement is one of the biggest of its kind. A $27 million settlement was reached between the City of Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd in March 2021. Floyd was a Black man whose passing just a few weeks after that of Mr. Bronstein sparked months of unrest.

Requests for comment from Vital Medical Services and the California Attorney General’s office were not promptly fulfilled. When California Highway Patrol police stopped Mr. Bronstein, he was just five minutes away from the residence where he resided with his father in Burbank, California.

Police reports Said, officers gave him a breathalyzer test, which revealed that he was below the legal alcohol limit. However, they suspected that he was under the influence of a substance and acquired a warrant to take his blood.

According to the police and autopsy reports, they handcuffed him and took him to the parking lot of a petrol station close to Pasadena to draw his blood. Brianna Palomino, his daughter, claimed that her father had a fear of needles, which is probably why he originally resisted when the officers told him to extend his arm.

After saying he would cooperate, as seen on video, officers grabbed him and forced him to the ground. Mr. Bronstein pleaded with them not to, saying again that he would assist. One of the officers responded, “It’s too late.”

To See How California Plans to Spend Its $24 Million on Civil Rights, See the Tweet Below:

Mr. Bronstein yelled and gasped for about two minutes, repeatedly telling the cops, “I can’t breathe.” According to an autopsy report, Mr. Bronstein died from “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement” and that his cause of death was “undetermined” in part due to the drug’s presence in his body.

According to The Associated Press, Mr. Bronstein’s passing caused the highway patrol to alter its procedures to stop police from “using techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia.” The uniformed cops were also given further training orders.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed into law a number of broad police reforms in September 2021, one of which prohibits the use of restraint and transportation techniques that increase the risk of positional asphyxia, or the inability to breathe due to the position of the body.

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