California has agreed to pay $24 million to the family of a man who died after shouting “I can’t breathe” as officers pinned him to the ground and tried to take his blood after stopping. traffic, the family’s attorney said Wednesday.
The deadly encounter in March 2020 came just months before police killed George Floyd, who uttered the same phrase to Minneapolis officers more than 20 times. However, video of Edward Bronstein’s final moments in the California Highway Patrol’s maintenance yard in Altadena hasn’t come to light for two years.
Seven CHP officers and one nurse were charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Bronstein, 38, of Burbank.
The $24 million settlement, which will settle a wrongful death lawsuit set to go to trial later this year, represents the largest civil rights settlement in California history, standing second in the United States just after $27 million settlement in Floyd’s deathEric Dubin, one of the attorneys representing the Bronstein family, said.
“I have no words to say about what they did to my son,” Edward Tapia, 73, said, surrounded by lawyers and large photos of his son at a news conference today. Wednesday outside federal court in downtown Los Angeles. “The erratic behavior of these officers is inhumane.”
Bronstein was arrested by CHP officers on suspicion of him driving while intoxicated on Highway 5 in March 2020.
According to his family’s attorney, Bronstein was taken to Altadena station for blood to be drawn after the vehicle came to a stop because he was under-breathing in his blood.
IN a 16-minute video recorded by a CHP sergeant on a hand-held camera and announced as part of a civil lawsuit, officers ordered Bronstein to comply with a blood draw, but he initially refused. The officers then flipped him to the ground, and he yelled, “I’m willing to do it! I will do it voluntarily!
“I promise, I promise!” Bronstein begged, but one officer replied that it was “too late” while continuing to crush Bronstein.
Officers wrestled him to the ground as they knelt on top of him and compressed his airway.
“I can’t breathe,” Bronstein said as the officers pressed on top of him.
Attorneys for Edward Bronstein’s family obtained a video showing Bronstein’s final moments as California Highway Patrol officers held him and forcibly took his blood as he repeatedly spoke. to them, “I can’t breathe.”
After about a minute, Bronstein’s body sagged and he stopped responding. Officers can be seen trying to revive him. One called his name and slapped the side of his head while he was still face down, but several minutes passed before officers attempted to give oxygen or give CPR.
“What they do is no different from criminals,” family attorney Annee Della Donna said Wednesday outside federal court. “It is a conscious disregard for life. No one should be treated like that.”
A spokesperson for CHP could not be reached for comment on the settlement.
Sergeant Major Michael Little and officers Dionisio Fiorella, Dusty Osmanson, Darren Parsons, Diego Romero, Justin Silva and Marciel Terry are charged with involuntary manslaughter and assaulted under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascon in March. The nurse at the scene, identified as Arbi Baghalian, was charged with manslaughter.
Luis Carrillo, an attorney for the Bronstein family, said there were few documents documenting the deadly encounter in the maintenance yard at Altadena station, possibly for training purposes.
Gascón played the video as his office announced the charges against the officers and called their behavior “criminal carelessness”.
It played a key role in reaching a settlement agreement with the state, Carrillo said Wednesday.
Carrillo said: “That video is a key piece of evidence in this case showing the despair of a life of people struggling to live.
The video came to light as state attorneys general revealed its existence during the discovery process after the Bronstein family sued. They tried to keep the video secret, arguing it shouldn’t be made public, but a federal judge overseeing the civil case ruled last year that the family had rights to the video.
A report by the LA County coroner’s office was unable to pinpoint Bronstein’s exact cause of death but attributed it to “acute methamphetamine intoxication while under control by law enforcement.”
Carrillo said there was only a “trace” of methamphetamine in Bronstein’s system and argued that the officers’ actions were the primary cause of death.
Dubin on Wednesday thanked Floyd’s family, saying their fight has become a call for civil rights in the US. after the video of Floyd’s death taken by outsiders launch nationwide protests.
“We believe all Americans know right from wrong in their hearts,” Dubin said, adding that he believes the jury will make a decision in the family’s favor if they watch the video. Bronstein’s death.
According to his father, Bronstein was a reformed gang member and wanted to be an airplane mechanic. He is working at his father’s auto body shop.
Bronstein has three children with her partner, Aundrea, who declined to give her last name for reasons of her family’s privacy. Outside the courthouse, her voice cracked as she said all she wanted was justice for the man she’d been with for 20 years.
Aundrea said: “The only thing that makes me more relieved is to see the people responsible for his death being criminally charged. “Our children have lost so much. They’ll never get their middle school years back, their dad, anything. We just want justice.”
Times staff writers Richard Winton and James Queally contributed to this report.