City of Antioch settles for $7.5M with family of man who died in police custody

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

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ANTIOCH, Calif. – The family of a man who died after being in police custody in Antioch in 2020 has settled with the city for $7.5 million, a spokesperson for the law office of John Burris said Tuesday.  

The Antioch City Council voted to approve the settlement in closed session on Tuesday night, according to the spokesperson for Burris. 

The civil rights suit against the city of Antioch was filed on behalf of the family of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Filipino American veteran who was suffering from a mental health crisis on Dec. 23, 2020 when Antioch police arrived at his home. Officers were responding to a report that Quinto was having a dispute with his mother. 

When paramedics arrived, Quinto’s face “was purple in color, there was blood on his face and the floor, and he was unresponsive.” They began life-saving efforts and he was taken to a hospital, where he later died. 

Quinto died by asphyxia after being knelt on the neck by Antioch police. According to the lawsuit, Quinto was forcibly restrained during an “obvious mental health emergency.”  

In 2022, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton decided against filing criminal charges against the officers involved in the restraint. 

Becton’s decision “feels like Angelo was being killed in front of me again,” Cassandra Quinto-Collins, Angelo Quinto’s mother, said at the time. 

Contra Costa County prosecutors had alleged that Quinto was under the influence of drugs and that he died from the medically disputed “excited delirium syndrome.” 

Ben Nisenbaum, an attorney for Quinto’s family, said that “excited delirium” was a “phony” cause of death given by the pathologist who carried out Quinto’s autopsy.  

After being confronted with another autopsy commissioned by Quinto’s family and attorneys during a deposition, the pathologist revised his opinion and agreed that restraint asphyxia was the cause of death, according to Nisenbaum.  

Burris has maintained that Quinto was having a mental health crisis and was not under the influence. On Tuesday, he praised the settlement with the city.  

“While no amount of money can make up for the tragic circumstances surrounding Angelo’s death, his family is to be commended for their unwavering commitment to improving the relationship between the community and Antioch police,” said Burris. 

Quinto’s family played a role in bringing body-worn cameras to the Antioch force, creating a mental health crisis team and mobile unit, a police review commission, and state legislation that outlawed the “excited delirium” designation. 

The family of Quinto along with Burris and Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe-Hernandez will be holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the case and settlement at 1 p.m. at 1909 Crestwood Ave., Antioch. 

 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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