Angelo Quinto

Family of East Bay Man Upset About Death Being Blamed on ‘Excited Delirium'

The Quinto family says their son died because officers put a knee on his neck and stayed on top of him

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A pathologist is standing by a controversial diagnosis in the death of an East Bay man who died after being restrained by Antioch police last year. 

The Contra Costa County’s coroner’s office says 30-year-old Angelo Quinto died by “excited delirium.”  The family says that finding it is nonsense and they’re not alone.

The American Medical Association opposes using “excited delirium” as a medical diagnosis and denounces it as sole justification for excessive force by police.

The Quinto family says their son died because officers put a knee on his neck and stayed on top of him.

“That’s a joke and it was so much of a joke that I laughed and walked out,” said Ben Nisenbaum, attorney for the Quinto family.

Back in December of 2020, Quinto’s sister dialed 911, fearing her brother was suffering a mental episode and was at risk of hurting a family member or himself.

“The officers that night and a detective told me I did the right thing then when I called,” said sister Isabella Quinto.

When Antioch police arrived, the family claims they pinned Quinto to the floor, with one officer putting his knee on his back. Antioch Police denied that claim, Quinto eventually lost consciousness and died three days later in the hospital.

“But if it was the right thing it would not have killed my brother,” said Isabella.

Coroner’s inquests are held for every death involving law enforcement. After hearing testimony from witnesses, the coroner’s jury ruled that Quinto’s death was an accident. 

“This was restrained asphyxiation, we know that based upon the manner in which he was down,” said attorney John Burris.

Quinto’s mother and sister are upset that they weren’t called to the stand to testify.

“I’m at peace because I know what happened that night I can sleep at night,” said mother Angela Quinto.

The Quinto family has filed a wrongful death suit against the Antioch Police Department. They've also spent much of their time fighting to reform the Antioch Police Department, including advocating for a mental health response team.
Antioch police have not commented on Friday's findings.

“What we’re doing now, it’s not for us, it’s for everyone, obviously this is a torment that we have to live with for the rest of our lives,” said Isabella.

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