The family of a 30-year-old East Bay man is filing a wrongful death suit against the Antioch Police Department, claiming officers put a knee on his neck during a mental health crisis.
“His biggest fear was death and his second biggest fear was the police,” said Bella Collins. “That’s where my guilt comes from.”
Antioch police went to Cassandra’s home in December when her son Angelo Quinto was having what she calls a mental health crisis.
“He was asking us what’s happening, what's going on?” said Quinto’s sister Bella. “We’ve experienced this before but we didn’t associate it with mental health.”
She says her brother was getting agitated and extremely paranoid. She and her mother felt a 911 call was the only answer.
“He grabbed us tight, we've never experienced that before,” said Bella.
When police arrived they found mother and son on the bedroom floor. Cassandra says she was holding her son in a bear hug to calm him.
“They asked me if my mom was restraining my brother or if he was restraining her,” said Bella.
Pictures taken by the family show Quinto on the ground and police surrounding him. His family says he was handcuffed.
“And in that maybe one or two seconds transition to the floor he cried out 'please don’t kill me' twice they said, 'we’re not going to kill you,'” said Bella.
Their attorney John Burris says police tactics are in question here.
“He was snatched from his mother’s arms, thrown to the ground. Police jumped on him and literally put a George Floyd-tight hold on the back of his neck,” said Burris.
The family says Quinto was unconscious when he was put in the ambulance. He died at the hospital three days later.
NBC Bay Area reached out to the Antioch Police Department they have yet to get back. They told The Mercury News that the cause of death is unknown and a toxicology report can take weeks.
They also reported that police did not use physical force and there’s a lot more questions that need to be answered.
“We need justice in some form,” said Bella.