Around the View
Edward Bronstein, 38, was taken into custody by California Highway Patrol officers on March 31, 2020, following a traffic stop. Bronstein died less than two months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis and like Floyd, he too, repeatedly told officers “I can’t breathe.”
Bronstein’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the officers, alleging excessive force and a violation of civil rights. They also call for officers to be criminally charged by the Los Angeles County district attorney like the officers involved in the George Floyd arrest.
The LA County coroner’s office ruled Bronstein’s cause of death as “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.”
Whilst the world was in uproar about George Floyd, little was said about Bronstein. The event questions the narrative that what happened to Floyd would not have happened to a white man. There are questions about police procedure and Brutality. However, it's reasonable to conclude that the actions of the police have little to do with race. The focus on race has deflected from serious work and review that needs to be done on police interactions in order to minimise the risk of such things occurring.
Bronstein refused when asked by officers to provide a blood sample to measure his alcohol. However, according to his family, he was terrified of needles. The officers were heard on camera saying, "Well, if you’re not going to comply with what we want you to do, we’re going to do this the hard way and it’s going to be painful for you,"
Several officers force the handcuffed man to the ground as he shouts “I'll do it willingly! I'll do it willingly, I promise!", the video shows. At least five officers continue to hold him down — the lawsuit alleges they put their knees on his back — as he screams “I'll do it! I'll do it! I promise!”
One officer replies: “It's too late.”
Bronstein begins screaming “I can't breathe!" and “I can't!” before the blood is taken, shouting it about eight times and begging for help as the officers continue to restrain him on the ground. The officers tell him to stop yelling as he pleads.
Bronstein's screams get softer and he soon falls silent. Even though he's not responsive, a medical professional continues to draw blood as the officers hold him down.
The Officers soon note that he may not have a pulse and does not appear to be breathing. The officers and the medical professional slap Bronstein's face, saying “Edward, wake up.” More than 11 minutes after Bronstein's last screams, they begin CPR. The family's lawsuit names nine officers and one sergeant.
A second video show Parademics unsuccessfully trying to revive Bronstein, an officer could be heard saying, “When we rolled him back over, he was turning blue.” Soon after, someone reminds the group: “Everybody’s on camera.”
A spokesperson for the LA County District Attorney's Office said the incidence remains under review.