New details have emerged as the family of Angelo Quinto, the Filipino American man who died while being restrained by Antioch police, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department and accused the police chief of cover-up.
What happened: Antioch police responded to the family's home on Dec. 23, 2020, after Isabella, his sister, called 911 while Quinto was going through a mental health crisis.
The 30-year-old Navy veteran had been slipping into episodes of paranoia after sustaining a head injury.
Quinto lost consciousness while being pinned down by responding officers. He was transported to Sutter Delta Medical Center, where he died three days later.
The new details: The lawsuit filed on Monday alleged Quinto had died from restraint asphyxia while being pinned down by the two responding officers inside his mother’s room, according to KTVU.
Officers allegedly told paramedics the Navy veteran was high on methamphetamine and had a struggle with the authorities as they restrained him, Bay Area civil rights attorney John Burris said in a press conference on Monday.
Burris called the claims false as the independent autopsy showed no drugs in Quinto’s system at the time. There was also petechial hemorrhaging in his eyes, which is an indication of asphyxia.
In a conference in March, Police Chief Tammany Brooks told reporters the department is “expanding toxicology testing” on Quinto, suggesting they were “aware of reported past drug use,” East County Today reported at the time.
“He was trying to suggest that drug use was the cause of death,” Burris told The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. “For him to go out on that limb, when he had no information, was shaming the victim.”
Officers reportedly said they found “no evidence of criminal activity” in Quinto’s home on Crestwood Drive, Antioch, Calif.
Cover-up accusation: Besides the new details, the lawsuit also accuses Brooks of covering up the officers’ actions during the incident, which the family calls “malicious” and “unrelated to legitimate law enforcement purposes.”
The lawsuit claims Brooks attempted to avert the impressions of the murder and how he “'desperately' sought alternative causes of death,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The document, which describes Brooks as a “conspirator after the fact,” also accused the police chief of “falsely claiming there were no signs of asphyxiation on Quinto’s body."
A coroner’s inquest is scheduled for Aug. 20, where authorities will present the facts to the jury that would determine the official cause and manner of death.
Featured Image via Quinto-Collins Family (left), John Burris Law Offices (right)
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