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Family of California man who died days after police detained him receives $7.5 million settlement with city


A Northern California city has agreed to pay $7.5 million to the family of a 30-year-old man who died days after police subdued him in 2020, the parties announced Wednesday, settling a lawsuit for wrongful death filed by the family.

Angelo Quinto’s family filed a lawsuit against the city of Antioch in February 2021, alleging he suffered from a mental health issue and died days after police officers knelt on his neck for almost five minutes to master it.

A year later, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said an internal examination determined Quinto’s neck area had no damage; that she saw “no evidence of a criminal offense committed by Antioch police officers” in Quinto’s death; and that the officers had “engaged with Quinto in a manner that was lawful and objectively reasonable in the circumstances.”

“While there is conflicting medical opinion as to the cause of death, accounts of what happened in the bedroom are consistent among all witnesses in that no police officer applied pressure to the neck de Quinto,” the prosecutor’s office said in 2022.

Police detained Quinto at the family’s Antioch home on Dec. 23, 2020, after his sister called police because he had a mental health issue and she feared he would hurt their mother, lawyers had said. of the family. Quinto lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead three days later, the family’s lawyers said in the complaint.

The cause of Quinto’s death “was excited delirium syndrome due to drug intoxication, psychiatric problems, physical exertion and cardiac arrest”, an autopsy carried out five days after Quinto was immobilized by the police, the prosecutor’s office said in 2022.

On Wednesday, Quinto’s family attorney, Ben Nisenbaum, said Quinto’s family was the “driving force” behind legislation ultimately signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom banning excited delirium and other similar terms as a cause of death in California. He said a coroner’s inquest listed excited delirium — which is “characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death,” according to the National Library of Medicine — as the cause of Quinto’s death .

John L. Burris, another attorney for the family, said the settlement shows that something positive can come from tragedy. “This is a case where the family, from day one, took the tragedy, the loss and the circumstances surrounding Angelo’s death and tried to turn it into something positive, and they did. done,” Burris said.

“The real benefit of this case is the collective efforts on their part and the willingness of city officials, including the mayor’s office… to bring about positive change,” Burris said.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe said that even though two people died in police custody in his first 30 days in office, he “felt like it wasn’t a big deal.”

“$7.5 million later – and that’s never enough to compensate a loved one – we recognized that this was a bigger problem than we understood,” the mayor said during Wednesday’s press conference, adding that the City Council has already fought against the body. cameras worn for police officers.

“Years of frankly failed leadership have brought us to this moment, but I’m happy to say we’ve done a tremendous amount of work in terms of culture change, not only within the police department, but also in the city, and take these concerns seriously,” the mayor said. “We’ve done a lot in terms of reforms that I believe build a safer community for every segment of our city and ensure that people get justice when we’re wrong.”

Angelo Quinto

At the news conference, Quinto’s father-in-law, Robert Collins, thanked the mayor and city council for listening to his family’s calls for change.

“We found a city that listened to a lot of our calls and began to make the necessary changes that we need,” Collins said. “It’s a process of change. We’re not done here. This is a process that will take many years.

Thanks to the family’s claims, police body cameras “are now a reality in Antioch” and a non-police mental health response team “has stopped more people from dying,” Collins said.

Quinto’s sister, Isabella Collins, described her brother as “multi-faceted.” He was artistic, loved to cook and was always trying to improve, she said.

“It’s a semblance of justice that we’ve been able to work toward positive reforms and positive changes – legislative changes and advocacy,” Isabella Collins said. “I think if my brother couldn’t have life, maybe this is what he would choose, that impact on other people’s lives and other people’s legacies, the ability to lead the way to a certain justice and justice for others.”

News Source : www.cnn.com
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