The family of a man who died while California Highway Patrol officers kneeled on top of him to draw his blood two years ago is suing the state of California over his death.
Edward Bronstein, 38, lost consciousness while six officers restrained him face down on a mat in the garage of the CHP’s Altadena station on March 31, 2020.
Video of the incident, apparently recorded through a cell phone by a supervising officer and unsealed this week by a federal judge over the objection of the Attorney General’s Office, shows Bronstein on his knees inside the garage as officers command him to give them a sample of his blood.
“I’m not fighting it at all,” says Bronstein, wearing a sweater and jeans..
“Then have a seat and provide your arm,” an officer says. “This is your last opportunity. Otherwise you’re going face down on the mat, and we’re gonna keep on going.”
“I just need a minute, OK? Please?” a visibly upset Bronstein says.
Three officers then flip Bronstein onto his chest as he writhes on the ground as more officers come in to help restrain him.
Immediately, Bronstein starts screaming repeatedly: “I’ll do it willingly!”
The man shrieks and yells, “I can’t breathe!,” over and over until he becomes unresponsive, about two minutes later, while officers continue to restrain him and a nurse draws his blood.
When Bronstein goes quiet, the nurse calls out to him but gets no response. They continue drawing blood from Bronstein for about five minutes while the nurse attempts to find his pulse.
Finally, after about seven minutes, officers pick Bronstein up and attempt to hold his head up. In the video, his face is clearly blue and he’s completely unresponsive.
Warning — some may not want to watch this video:
CONTENT WARNING: Two months before the George Floyd incident, eleven CHP officers pinned Edward Bronstein to the ground as he screamed and said he couldn’t breath. The coroner said he died of “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.” pic.twitter.com/D5GfY94fqH
— Kate Cagle (@KateCagle) March 16, 2022
Michael Carrillo, an attorney for Bronstein’s family, told Fox 11 Bronstein was dead by the time officers attempted to resuscitate him using a handheld pump.
The family filed its federal lawsuit in December against the state of California, the CHP and the 10 officers and the nurse involved in the confrontation.
According to the complaint, the man was driving on the 5 Freeway when officers stopped him. The CHP has not said why it pulled Bronstein over.
A CHP spokeswoman declined to comment on the case or provide a report about Bronstein’s death.
Bronstein died of “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement,” according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
The lawsuit accuses the state of negligence, wrongful death, assault and battery, civil conspiracy and failure to provide medical attention. It was brought by Bronstein’s parents and four of his children; they are seeking burial expenses and financial damages.
Attorneys for the family were not immediately available for comment.