A Filipino American man in Antioch, California has reportedly died after a police officer kneeled on the man’s neck.
The incident, which was partially caught on video, occurred during a police intervention last December while the man was suffering from a mental health crisis.
Angelo Quinto, 30, had been slipping into episodes of paranoia after he sustained a head injury, his family said.
On Dec. 23, the Navy veteran became increasingly agitated out of fear that his mother and sister would leave him.
(WARNING: This video contains material that some viewers may find disturbing due to the graphic nature of the material.)
Quinto reportedly calmed down once police officers arrived, but they still restrained him.
“One officer was holding his legs and the other officer had his knee or lower leg here,” Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collins, told KTVU, gesturing to the back of her neck.
Quinto eventually lost consciousness — with blood coming out of his mouth — before paramedics finally arrived.
Quinto never regained consciousness. He died at a hospital three days later, and an autopsy has yet to be performed.
“His biggest fear was death and his second biggest fear was the police,” his sister Isabella told NBC Bay Area. “That’s where my guilt comes from.”
The family is now planning to sue the Antioch Police Department, which took nearly a month to acknowledge Quinto’s death and the police’s role in it.
“He said, ‘Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me,’” Cassandra told KTVU. “I was there. I was watching them. I trusted them. I thought they know what they’re doing.”
The family of 30 year old Angelo Quinto files wrongful death claim against Antioch Police saying cops put a knee on his neck while he was having a mental health crisis in December. Quinto’s unopened Christmas presents are shown here. More on @KCBSRadio today. pic.twitter.com/QBcXhYj4fg
— Carrie Hodousek (@CarrieHodousek) February 18, 2021
His family held a news conference on Thursday to announce their decision to sue. Their lawyer, Bay Area civil rights attorney John Burris, called Quinto’s death “particularly horrific.”
“There are a lot of issues wrong here. The technique applied by officers. The failure to de-escalate. The jumping on his back, the putting into his neck by a knee,” Burris said, according to The Mercury News.
“Given what we know, which is that we had a healthy young man in his mother’s arms. The police grabbed him. They themselves, their conduct, snuffed the life out of him. We see that not only as a violation of his civil rights but it’s a violation of humanity, frankly.”
The Antioch Police Department has yet to issue a public statement on the case.
Feature Images via John Burris Law Offices (left; screenshot) and Quinto-Collins Family (right)