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California man’s family wants officers allegedly involved in his death charged

By Taylor Romine, CNN

The family of Edward Bronstein, a 38-year-old man who died while in custody of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in March 2020, called on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to charge the officers allegedly involved in his death.

“What they did is sickening, really bad. Everybody wants justice, and we want them prosecuted. We want them put away so they can’t hurt nobody like they did my son,” said Edward Tapia, Bronstein’s father.

Last week, a federal judge unsealed a video taken by the CHP which captured Bronstein’s death. In the video, Bronstein is heard telling officers “I can’t breathe,” at least 12 times while pinned to the ground.

On Thursday, Bronstein’s family gathered outside the District Attorney’s office, holding signs reading, “I can’t breathe.”

These were the same words repeated by George Floyd before his death while being restrained by Minneapolis police in May 2020.

The CHP video was released for use in a federal wrongful death lawsuit brought by Bronstein’s family in February against the state of California, CHP and individual officers who were on scene when Bronstein died. The lawsuit claims excessive force by police on site ultimately led to his wrongful death. So far, no officers have been charged in connection with Bronstein’s death.

The nearly 18-minute video showed Bronstein being forcibly held on the ground by several officers while a medical professional was retrieving a blood sample. Bronstein died shortly after the encounter.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office determined he died from “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement,” but listed the manner of death as “undetermined.”

The federal lawsuit alleges officers used “excessive and objectively unreasonable” force against Bronstein, who was “unarmed, restrained, and surrounded by uniformed peace officers.” The excessive force “was also a result of the negligent employment, negligent retention, and negligent supervision” of the officers by the CHP, the lawsuit says.

The trial date for the federal lawsuit is scheduled for December 13.

In addition to the civil case, Bronstein’s family said they also want justice in criminal court, as they are “suffering a lifetime of grief.” Bronstein’s daughters and mother also spoke briefly, echoing the same sentiment.

Luis Carrillo, an attorney for the family, said the officers are a danger to the community in their current positions.

“These officers should be charged with voluntary manslaughter for their stupidity, and they shouldn’t even be officers, they should be run out of the highway patrol,” he added.

CNN has reached out to the district attorney’s office and California Highway Patrol for comment and is awaiting a response.

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CNN’s Mallika Kallingal contributed to this report

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