Video shows death of California man while held down by cops

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Video shows death of California man while held down by cops

Harrowing video has emerged of a California DUI suspect who died after screaming “I can’t breathe!” while being held down by cops – less than two months before George Floyd uttered the same haunting words to police in Minneapolis.

Edward Bronstein, 38, was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence by California Highway Patrol Officer Dusty Osmanson after a traffic stop on the 5 Freeway on March 31, 2020, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The suspect was taken to the CHP’s Altadena station, where officers tried forcibly to draw his blood to measure his alcohol level, but he reportedly refused.

The 16-minute video captured by a sergeant shows Bronstein kneeling on the ground while an officer presses his hands onto his shoulders while another officer, who is off camera, orders him to comply with a court-ordered blood draw.

“You are bringing the fight to this, not us,” one of the cops says.

Edward Bronstein
Bronstein was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Carrillo Law Firm

“I am not bringing the fight at all,” Bronstein replies.

An officer then warns him that if he refuses to comply, “you are going face-down on the mat — and we going to keep on going.”

After being held to the ground, Bronstein shouts, “I’ll do it willingly! I’ll do it willingly!”

Several more officers pin him down with their bodies as he shouts in distress — before finally saying, “I can’t breathe!”

Edward Bronstein
Bronstein initially refused to have blood drawn.
Carrillo Law Firm

After Bronstein stops moving, another minute elapses before the officers realize he is not responding and try to revive him. As he lies face down, one of them slaps him on the head before he is finally turned over.

An officer then asks for CPR to be given — but more than 11 minutes elapse after Bronstein’s last screams before they begin to administer it.

Bronstein’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against nine officers and a sergeant, alleging excessive force and a violation of civil rights. The family also is calling for the cops to be criminally charged by the LA County district attorney.

Edward Bronstein
Bronstein found himself pinned down by several cops, unable to breathe.
Carrillo Law Firm

The officers are Carlos Villanueva, Christopher Sanchez-Romero, Darren Parsons, Diego Romero, Dusty Osmanson, Eric Voss, Justin Silva, Dionisio Fiorella and Marciel Terry. Also named is Sgt. Michael Little.

The coroner’s office attributed Bronstein’s death to “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement,” though it declared the cause as “undetermined,” the paper said.

The chilling video was released Tuesday after a federal judge’s order to make it public.

“The state of California did not want us to release this video,” said the family’s civil rights attorney, Luis Carrillo.

“Thank God that the judge agreed with us, and that’s why you can now see this video … It’s horrible, but it is the only way his family can get some justice,” he added.

CHP officials declined to comment on the case to the LA Times, citing the pending litigation.

Edward Bronstein with his daughter, Isabella Bronstein.
Bronstein is seen with his daughter, Isabella Bronstein.
Courtesy of Bronstein Family

Carrillo said the video was not part of the usual protocol for the CHP, whose officers do not wear body cameras, though the agency’s cars do have dashcams.

“I suspect they shot this for training purposes and then realized later they had to reveal its existence,” he told the newspaper.

Michael Carrillo, who is representing the Bronstein family with his father, said that when the cops heard Bronstein say, “I can’t breathe,” they should have stopped.

“Not one officer took the action to pull the others off of him, pull him to the side, do something to give him air,” he told the LA Times. “When they finally flip him over, he’s lifeless.”

The family says Bronstein was terrified of needles and believe that’s why he was initially reluctant to comply with the officers as they sought to draw his blood.

“Nobody deserves to die this way. He was treated like trash, like his life was not deserving,” his daughter Brianna Palomino said during a news conference announcing the release of the footage, the LA Times reported.

His death came two months before that of Floyd, who was killed in May 2020 by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck and compressed his airway.

Floyd’s death sparked nationwide calls for police reform.

“When the nation was in an uproar over the George Floyd tragedy, we had no idea this had also happened to Mr. Bronstein,” Luis Carrillo said.

In September 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law barring police from using certain face-down holds that have led to several accidental deaths.

The law was aimed at expanding on the state’s ban on chokeholds in the wake of Floyd’s murder.

With Post wires

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