On Friday, Contra Costa County Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston announces that a coroner’s jury today reached a finding in the December 26, 2020 death of 30-year-old Angelo Quinto of Antioch.
The Coroners’ Office ruled Friday Quinto succumbed to “excited delirium” and prescription drugs during the physical restraint with officers. The finding of the jury is that the death was an accident.
The coroner’s jury reached the verdict in the inquest after hearing the testimony of witnesses called by hearing officer Matthew Guichard.
A coroner’s inquest, which Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston convenes in fatal incidents involving peace officers, is a public hearing during which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members can choose from the following four options when making their finding:
- Natural Causes
- At the hands of another person, other than by accident
Since the December 2020 incident, the Quinto family painted a different picture of the death blaming four officers — Nicholas Shipilov, Arturo Becerra, Daniel Hopwood and James Perkinson – after Quitno went unconscious and died threedays later in the hospital.
Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks held a press conference on May 2 regarding the in-custody death which included the 9-1-1 call and radio traffic from the incident.
During the 9-1-1 call, the woman said her brother was physically restraining her mother. She said she was armed with a hammer after he took it from her and she had taken it back. She also told the dispatcher he took drugs.
While on the phone with the dispatcher, she told her that her mother was not breathing, and he was strangling her. At that point, she opened the door for police.
Chief Brooks then played the dispatched highlighting the reporting party is armed with a hammer after the mother took it away from the brother. Dispatch then told officers that the reporting party could hear Quinto was hurting the mother and known to use drugs. A short time later, it was relayed that Quinto was strangling the mother.
According to Brooks, officers arrived on scene to find Angelo Quinto being actively restrained by his mother on a bedroom floor in the house and requested she get off of him so they could detain him.
“According to preliminary results of an investigation, at one point during the hand cuff, an officer did briefly for a few seconds have a knee across a portion of his shoulder blade which is a common control technique taught California POST,” stated Brooks. “At no point, did any officer use a knee or any body part to gain leverage or apply pressure to Angelo’s head, neck or throat which is outside of our policy and training.”
He continued saying one officer tried to gain control of Angelo’s legs as they were “thrashing around”. At that point another officer spoke to Angelo’s mother to determine his medical history. Officers determined Angelo was suffering a mental health crisis and summoned an ambulance at approximately 11:16 pm with two additional officers arriving on scene and paramedics on scene by 11:23 pm.
“As medics entered the room, officers recognized that Angelo had become unresponsive and potentially experiencing a medical emergency. Angelo was immediately unhandcuffed and medics began evaluating him and rendered medical aid,” stated Brooks.
Brooks continued saying Angelo was transferred to an area hospital by approximately 11:30 pm.
Fatal incident protocol was initiated where the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office led the investigation. Ultimately, Angelo was admitted to the intensive care unit and remained in their care for 3-days before informed of his passing.
Brooks released details from multiple pathologists relating to their findings.
- Although Angelo had injuries consistent with a struggle with his family and law enforcement, none of the injuries appeared to be fatal.
- There were no fractures of the skull, torso, or extremities.
- A full examination of the neck revealed there was no evidence of strangulation or crushed airway.
- They are currently expanding toxicology testing because they were aware of reported past drug use.
Sacramento, CA – With a 49-5 vote, AB 490 passed the Assembly floor Wednesday. Authored by Chair of Select Committee on Police Reform, Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), AB 490 seeks to ban law enforcement from using restraint that causes positional asphyxia.
“Last year, we witnessed the death of my API Brother, Angelo Quinto, a Navy veteran, who was tragically killed by police when an officer knelt on his neck for nearly five minutes,” said Gipson. “We need to make sure all methods of restraining someone do not turn unnecessarily deadly!”
Positional asphyxia is a deadly condition that can occur when a person being restrained cannot get enough oxygen. This also includes the “knee to neck” restraint, a technique that led to the death of George Floyd.
“My bill still allows officers to protect themselves in life-threatening situations, but it does not allow them to cut off anyone’s airway” stated Gipson. “The circumstances of Angelo Quinto’s death are a stark parallel to George Floyd’s, which both exposed loopholes in use-of-force policies.”
AB 490 is an extension of AB 1196, landmark legislation authored by Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson. AB 1196 was signed by the Governor in 2020 and bans law enforcement from using the same kinds of chokeholds that killed George Floyd. The current statewide use-of-force policy now prohibits law enforcement from using any type of chokehold, including carotid restraint.
“AB 490 will create a uniform statewide policy on restraints that cause positional asphyxia to make sure these restraints are no longer uses,” said Gipson.
The bill is now headed to the Senate Public Safety Committee and is sponsored by the California Faculty Association.