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Family of Fil-Am files wrongful death lawsuit against Antioch police

Rommel Conclara | TFC News Antioch, California

Posted at Aug 11 2021 05:14 PM

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The family of a Filipino American man who died while being restrained by police in Antioch, California last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawyer representing Angelo Quinto's family said that they have sued the city of Antioch and its police department.

Lawyer John Burris says Angelo Quinto died from restraint asphyxia.
Lawyer John Burris, who is representing Angelo Quinto's family, says the Fil-Am died from restraint asphyxia.

"We believe that Angelo Quinto was wrongfully killed by the police by a manner in which they employed, in our view, an illegal restraint called restraint asphyxia. Restrain asphyxiation is what happened here, and it is a real tragedy for us and the family because this did not need to happen," said Attorney John Burris.

On December 23, 2020, police were called to the Quinto family's home when Angelo was going through a mental health episode. According to the complaint, one police officer pressed a knee on the 30-year-old's neck for almost five minutes, while another restrained his legs. Angelo was reportedly unresponsive when he was taken away by paramedics. He died three days later.

His sister, Bella, said that the family is still looking for closure. "It hurts to remember how he went but he believed he had a guardian angel and if there is something more for him, I hope he has it," said Bella.

According to the legal team of the Quinto family, based on their independent autopsy, there were no drugs in his system. They also slammed Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks who had previously defended his officers' actions, saying none of them applied any pressure to Angelo’s body. Burris claimed, "There was an attempt to shame the victim. This is a young man who was dead and it happened in front of his mother and sister and yet the effort was to shame him to suggest he caused his own demise. That to me was outrageous and despicable because the facts are pretty clear: there was a mental case and it should have been treated as such."
Meanwhile, the Quinto family has been working with city and state officials in creating ways for a better policing system, such as installing body cameras, establishing a mental health response team, and supporting a bill that prohibits law enforcement from applying holds that lead to positional asphyxia. "We all need a working police system that we can trust and know. And trust comes from accountability and transparency," pointed out Angelo's stepfather, Robert Collins.
The Contra Costa County Sherriffs' Office has scheduled a coroner's inquest for August 20th to determine the official cause and death of the Fil-Am.