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Video shows man dying while in police custody in Altadena

"I can't breathe. I can't breathe."
Police Custody Death, Altadena
Posted at 9:25 AM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 12:25:49-04

ALTADENA, Calif. (KERO) — A shocking video from two years ago shows a man dying in police custody while they restrain him.

On March 31, 2020, Edward Bronstein was taken to the California Highway Patrol station in Altadena where officers got a court order to draw his blood during a DUI investigation. But attorneys for the family of the 38-year old said he had a fear of needles.

In the video, you can hear one of the offices say "You're bringing the fight to this. Not us."

Bronstein replied, "I'm not fighting at all."

The officer then responded: "Then, 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."

Then, there was a struggle with about six officers trying to draw Bronstein's blood with Bronstein crying out "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

"He says 'I can't breathe' 12 times is what I counted," said attorney Michael Carrillo.

Within 3 minutes Bronstein is no longer resisting or speaking.

Attorneys for his daughter Brianna Palomino and his family have filed a federal lawsuit claiming excessive force led to Bronstein's death.

"We're trying our best to stay strong for him. And we miss him," said Palomino.

In the video, a nurse continued to draw his blood for about 6 minutes after Bronstein stopped resisting. Then, officers turned him over to sit him up.

"Instead of trying to save his life, they slap him in the face, thinking that's going to wake a dead man up," said Carrillo. "Where is CPR? Where is first aid?"

CPR didn't begin until about 14 minutes after the struggle began. An autopsy found methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol in Bronstein's system.

His family's attorneys say officers should've turned him on his side or placed him in a chair to draw his blood.

"Police officers must have reverence for human life. They didn't on that day," said attorney Luis Carrillo.

"I think these officers need to be put away," said Palomino. "They don't deserve to have a job in law enforcement."