A 30-year-old Navy veteran died after Antioch police allegedly used the ‘George Floyd hold’ on him while he was suffering a mental health incident, and the family is suing the Antioch PD.
There was not really any media coverage of the December 23 death of 30-year-old Angelo Quinto, who died after Antioch police responded to a call of him having a mental health episode. Quinto’s family said he was not behaving violently at the time, and they allege an unidentified officer kneeled on Quinto’s neck for five minutes while he was begging for his life. He would not regain consciousness, and was pronounced dead within three days.
There tends to be a great deal of media coverage when you hire civil rights attorney John Burris, who’s also known for taking on the Vallejo PD in the Sean Monterrosa killing, and the BART Police in the 2019 McMuffin-gate incident. Now that Quinto’s family has John Burris making trouble on their behalf, the case has made it into today’s New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed in an Alameda County court, “When two yet-to-be identified Antioch police officers arrived at the home, [sister] Isabella Collins directed them to [mother] Ms. Quinto-Collins’ bedroom,” where he had calmed down after the original incident, and was being held by his mother. “As he was being pulled from his mother’s arms, he said to the officers at least twice ‘please don’t kill me.' One officer then crossed Mr. Quinto’s legs behind him. The other officer put the lower part of his right leg on the back of Mr. Quinto’s neck. The officer who had his leg on Mr. Quinto’s neck then said to Ms. Quinto-Collins, ‘this is what we do to keep them calm.’
“At no time while being restrained did Mr. Quinto resist physically or verbally. After being restrained for almost 5 minutes, Mr. Quinto became lifeless.”
At a press conference last week Burris said, “The most tragic part of this is they used the ‘George Floyd hold,’" and that “Within five minutes he was essentially dead. That cannot happen. That’s tragic.”
Quinto’s mother shot video of the incident, and be warned this four-minute video of police handling Quinto’s body is pretty horrifying and disturbing. As he lays there, “essentially dead” in Burris’ words, Quinto’s mother is frantically yelling “Does he have a pulse? What’s happening?” Police keep asking if he was doing drugs, perhaps figuring it must have been the drugs that left him in that state rather than the alleged five minute chokehold.
The Chronicle adds that “Police didn’t disclose Quinto’s death to the public for nearly a month,” and that Antioch police Lt. John Fortner “told The Chronicle on Wednesday that the Contra Costa County district attorney and sheriff’s Coroner’s Division are investigating Quinto’s death, and that the agencies will provide more information when portions of the review are complete.”
What is exceptionally rough for the family is that their own police call may have led to Quinto’s death. “We trusted them too much during a time of fear and vulnerability and panic,” his mother told the Chron. “I would not call them if this happened again.”
Per the Mercury News, “An online obituary for Quinto describes him as a U.S. Navy veteran who graduated from Berkeley High School and attended Berkeley City College.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, San Francisco General Hospital has a 24-hour Crisis Services hotline at 628-206-8125, and the Mental Health Board of San Francisco has a list of additional resources.
Related: Pittsburg Settles Chokehold Case For $7.3M [SFist]
Image: via Quinto’s sister Isabella Collins