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Navy veteran Angelo Quinto, 30, who was going through a mental health episode, died days after a Northern California police officer knelt on his neck for nearly five minutes. 

Quinto’s sister, Isabella Collins,18, called the Antioch Police Department on Dec. 23 out of fear that he would harm their mother during a mental health episode he was experiencing at the time. Quinto was “suffering from anxiety, depression, and paranoia for the previous few months,” said the family’s attorney, John L. Burris, in a wrongful death claim filed on Feb. 18. 

The family said a responding officer knelt on Quinto’s neck for nearly five minutes while another officer restrained his legs.

“He said ‘Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me,’ as they were putting him on the ground. They handcuffed him and one officer put his knee on the back of his neck the whole time I was in the room,” said Quinto’s mother.

Quinto was then taken to the hospital, unconscious, where he died three days later without waking up.  An independent autopsy report is still pending, and a cause of death has not been released from authorities.

According to the East Bay Times, Antioch police had waited over a month to confirm the incident to the paper on Jan. 25. At the time police spokesman, Lt. John Fortner, said that more information would be released to the public once “several unknowns” were cleared up. 

Antioch Lt. Tara Mendes also told the East Bay Times on Feb. 18 that “the investigation is still ongoing. We want it to be completed. As soon as it is completed, we will be able to provide the public with more information.”

Since the family has now filed a legal claim against the Antioch Police Department, the department will have 45 days to respond. After that time has passed, Burris plans to move forward with a federal lawsuit. 

“I trusted the police because I thought they knew what they were doing but he was actually passive and visibly not dangerous or a threat so, it was absolutely unnecessary what they did to him,” said Quinto’s mother.

Written ByLevon Satamian

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