California Navy Vet in Mental Health Crisis Dead After Police Officer Kneels on Neck 

California Navy Vet in Mental Health Crisis Dead After Police Officer Kneels on Neck 

A mental health crisis two days before Christmas ended with the death of a young Navy veteran. The family of Angelo Quinto, 30, called 911 after he began behaving erratically. After suffering a head injury in an assault a year earlier, he had grown paranoid and anxious. His sister, Isabella, said her brother was left with a black eye, a head wound needing stitches, and no memory of what happened. He had shown signs of depression before the assault but never received a formal diagnosis or treatment.

When officers from the Antioch, California police department arrived, the family says one officer put his knee on Quinto’s neck for five minutes after another officer handcuffed him. Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collins, begged the police to take her son to the hospital in an ambulance. Instead, he stopped breathing.

Quinto died at Sutter Delta Medical Center on December 26. His family has filed a legal claim against the city, which is a preliminary step before filing a lawsuit. George Floyd’s death under similar circumstances in May ignited national protests. Quinto’s family alleges police failed to follow the correct procedures for mental health emergencies and ended up asphyxiating him.

Please Don’t Kill Me

Late that night, Quinto had begun behaving strangely. He hugged his mother and sister very tight around their heads and shoulders, and they got scared. Isabella feared he would harm their mother, so she called 911. When the police arrived, they found Quinto on the floor with his mother embracing him.

According to his family, Quinto pleaded with officers not to kill him. The pleas began when the police arrived, flipped him over, and pinned him down.

Quinto-Collins recorded a video of her son after he became unresponsive. Blood is coming out of his mouth. The police load him onto a stretcher, and they start performing chest compressions on him in the hallway. His mother asks whether her son has a pulse.

Constant Striving for Happiness and Success

In his obituary, Quinto’s family recalled his constant striving for happiness and success. Born in the Philippines, Quinto arrived in the U.S. as a middle-school student. He later joined the Navy, which he loved, but was honorably discharged due to a food allergy in 2019.

He is remembered as someone who loved online gaming, fishing, and scuba diving and also had great affection for his pets. His loved ones recalled his great ambition and many talents and grand ideas. He had hoped to start a career in online gaming and video game design.

A Month Before Information Released

Nearly a month had passed since the incident before police went public about Quinto’s death. Police Lt. John Fortner said Quinto had not been tasered, pepper-sprayed, or struck by police. The officers were not wearing body cameras.

The Antioch Police Department has not released information to the family or their lawyers. That includes the name of the officers involved or the official cause of death. The family’s attorney has called for the retraining of officers to deal with mental health crises.

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