Video Shows Man Screaming 'I Can't Breathe' Before Dying in Police Custody
The unsealed video was released this week, nearly two years after the incident occurred in California. The man's family has filed a wrongful death suit.
Disturbing video shows the final moments of a man’s life as he shouted “I can’t breathe” while being restrained by five officers.
The incident occurred in Los Angeles County on March 31, 2020, nearly two months before George Floyd died under similar circumstances. CNN reports the California Highway Patrol took Edward Bronstein, 38, into custody following a traffic stop. The man was then transferred him to the Altadena Station’s garage area, where officers attempted to draw a blood sample.
Newly unsealed footage shows a handcuffed Bronstein on his knees as an officer gives him orders: “Have a seat and provide your arm. This is your last opportunity. Otherwise, you’re going face down on the mat, and we’re going to keep on going.”
Moments later, five uniformed officers are seen forcing Bronstein face-down on a mat, as he tells them he’ll comply with their demands.
“I’ll do it willingly! I’ll do it willingly, I promise!” he shouts. “I’ll do it! I’ll do it! I promise!”
“It’s too late,” an officer is heard saying.
The 18-minute video, which was taken by a CHP sergeant, shows Bronstein repeatedly shouting, “I can’t breathe,” before he ultimately stops moving. After drawing Bronstein’s blood, officers notice the man is no longer responding and make several attempts to “wake” him up. They eventually perform CPR, but the man never regains full consciousness.
The LA County medical examiner’s office attributed Bronstein’s death to “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.” The manner of death was listed as “unknown.”
About nine months later, Bronstein’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of California, CHP, and all involved officers. According to CNN, the family is also calling on the district attorney to criminally charge the officers who were at the scene. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages as well as a jury trial.
“EVEN after he said he would ‘willingly’ obey the officers STILL BRUTALIZED HIM ANYWAY,” the family’s attorney, Luis Carillo, told CNN. “NOBODY should die this way. The family will always suffer the loss of love of Edward.”
CHP said they wanted to keep the footage from the public until the DA completed its investigation; however, a federal judge ordered the video to be released Tuesday because because “the public’s interest in the conduct of its peace officers outweighs other interests and any risk of particularized harm.”