LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors charged seven California Highway Patrol officers and a nurse with manslaughter on Wednesday in connection with the 2020 death of a man who shouted “I can’t breathe” while several officers restrained him as they attempted to take a blood sample.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the charges in the death of Edward Bronstein, which the LA County Coroner says was caused by “acute methamphetamine intoxication during a restraint by the police”.
“The officers had a legal obligation to Mr. Bronstein,” Gascón told a news conference. “He was in their custody. We believe they failed in their duty and their failure was criminal negligence, causing his death.
In a statement, CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee offered his condolences to Bronstein’s family and said the agency’s mission is to put the safety of all Californians first.
“I am saddened that Mr. Bronstein passed away while in our custody and care. Any death in custody is a tragedy that we take with the utmost seriousness,” Duryee said. “I recognize that this case will now go through the court system, and I respect the court process.”
Bronstein, 38, was taken into custody by CHP officers on March 31, 2020, following a traffic stop. Bronstein died less than two months before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis as he too repeatedly told officers, “I can’t breathe.
A nearly 18-minute video showing officers’ treatment of Bronstein was released last year following a judge’s order.
The six CHP officers and a sergeant charged in his death face one count of manslaughter and one count of assault under cover of authority. They each face up to four years in prison.
The graduate nurse is charged with manslaughter.
An indictment has not yet been scheduled.