Police Abuse

A California Man Died After Cops Knelt on His Neck During a Mental Health Call. Then the Department Tried To Hide It.

Angelo Quinto's family has filed a wrongful death claim.

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When the mayor of Antioch, California, found out about the December police killing of 30-year-old Antioch man Angelo Quinto, it wasn't from the police department. He learned of it the same way many others did: on the internet.

"I did not know when he passed away that the city had activated what we call 'protocol,'" Mayor Lamar A. Thorpe tells Reason in an interview. "I did not know that he died until a week later, when I learned about it through social media posts. That should never be a way that I find out this kind of information."

The police department would not confirm the death to the public until more than a month had passed, after the East Bay Times pressed them on it.

On December 23, cops responded to a call from Isabella Collins, Quinto's sister, who reported a mental health crisis. A wrongful death claim filed by the family against the city of Antioch mentions that Quinto made a plea upon seeing the officers: "Please don't kill me," he said. He would be dead just moments later, after the cops knelt on Quinto's neck for five minutes, according to the suit.

The claim notes that Quinto "had been suffering from depression, anxiety, and paranoia for the previous few months" and that the evening of December 23 brought on an episode of paranoia. "What are you doing?" he kept asking people in the house, following them as he feared they would leave him alone. Quinto's sister phoned the police for help; Quinto's mother, Maria Quinto-Collins, calmed her son by sitting with him on the floor as she held him "onto her chest with her hands clasped behind his back."

Upon arriving, the officers removed him from Quinto-Collins' arms and put him on the floor before one placed his leg on Quinto's neck. "This is what we do to keep them calm," he said.

That cop eventually got fatigued, and so the second officer replaced him, at which point Quinto began to bleed from his mouth. "At no time while being restrained did Mr. Quinto resist physically or verbally," the suit says.

Video footage taken by Quinto-Collins shows police turning over her lifeless son to reveal blood dripping on his chin as they try to shake him awake. "What happened?" Quinto-Collins asks. "Please, please…What is happening? Does he have a pulse?"

Quinto was later transferred to a hospital, where he died three days later.

Antioch Chief of Police Tammany Brooks did not respond to a request for comment. In a press conference convened this week to address another recent police killing, he said that the Quinto probe was ongoing.

It's an investigation that the public may never have known about if the police department, which attempted to conceal the information from both lawmakers and community members, had its way. Quinto's death is evocative of George Floyd's, the man who perished in May 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, spurring a robust debate on police accountability and viable alternatives to excessive force.

"Drugs were not involved," Benjamin Nisenbaum, a lawyer in the wrongful death claim, said at a press conference. "Even if they were, you've got a case where the family called police to help them. And they killed him. Police have to do a better job than that." In that vein, Quinto's family also plans to file a federal lawsuit, though they may have an uphill battle, thanks to qualified immunity. The legal doctrine makes it an onerous task to bring civil suits against public officials, requiring that any alleged misconduct be outlined with near-exacting precision in previous case law. In practice, it has protected a cop who shot a 10-year-old, a cop who shot a 15-year-old, and two cops who assaulted and arrested a man for standing outside of his own house, among others.

Thorpe introduced a slew of police reforms on Monday in line with his mayoral campaign promises. One is particularly relevant: the use of body cameras, which the Antioch officers were not wearing on that December evening, as the department has historically resisted their implementation.

"I learned that we were exploring body cameras in 2017," says Thorpe, who was then a city council member. "At that point, the prior chief told the council that at that moment he needed more time to examine and explore the issue. And so we said, 'Thank you. Go explore and get more information.' Well, four years later, we never got more information."

The mayor will likely face a predictable opponent in pushing for change: the local police union, with which he already has somewhat of a thorny working relationship.

"Voters may have received a mailer from Mayor candidate Lamar Thorpe claiming he is for greater law enforcement efforts in Antioch. THIS IS NOT TRUE," reads a letter from the union to the community in the run-up to the 2020 mayoral election. "There is a reason the Antioch Police Officers' Association has endorsed the re-election of Mayor Sean Wright and NOT Lamar Thorpe. Mr. Thorpe's vision for the future of Antioch will INCREASE CRIME, increase our HOMELESS POPULATION and lead to further blight in our City."

"It wasn't helpful. It wasn't a constructive conversation," says Thorpe, who notes that he will be meeting with a new union president in March, as the previous one resigned after Thorpe's election victory. It also isn't surprising when considering police unions' history of reflexively defending the most unconscionable behavior from their members at the expense of the people they serve.

"I'm pro-labor," adds Thorpe. "But there's just some things that seem a little unfair that I think jeopardize the public good."

As for what he'd like to see fundamentally change in the community, he answers quickly: "There are people in our community who have a deep, deep, deep, deep, deep trust of the police. And that's wonderful," he says. "But everyone should have that kind of trust. And right now, we just don't have that."

NEXT: The LGBT Equality Act Puts Polarizing Politics Over Good Policy

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  1. “It’s not the crime but the coverup.”

    In this case, if the city and its police suffer any consequences at all, it will be some toothless rebuke for lack of proper procedure in reporting rather than the act itself of murdering a man in crisis.

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    2. Damn, that’s some mighty fine assumption you got there.

      This isn’t even half a fucking story, who knows what happened, the people who were there don’t even know what happened, according to the article.

      1. HA, so there is my half-baked comment that I thought didn’t post.

        See below.

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    3. That’s some mighty fine assumption you got, there.

      Hell, this article isn’t even half a story. How can you know what happened when, according to the very article you’re commenting on, the people who were there don’t even know what happened? I’m sick to death of people acting like they “know what happened,” when they don’t know shit. It’s nothing but cognitive bias.

      If we want to get REALLY pissy we should be pissy with the media that has people so mortally terrified of the police that they’re instantly “don’t kill me!” or “don’t hurt my babies!” the moment they see a badge; like the fucking sheriff’s deputy got up that day looking to off a kid or schizo.

      1. And yet, he did.

      2. “the moment they see a badge; like the fucking sheriff’s deputy got up that day looking to off a kid or schizo.”

        That’s a really unfair opinion you have of how the public views the police.

        Get with the times. Most of us are far more terrified the police continue raping 14 year old girls with impunity than that they will continue executing innocent people with impunity.

        Back the Blue. Government is just another name for things we all do together.

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  2. Outrageous. Truly outrageous.

    When did neck-kneeling become a thing? If a cop, or anyone, is physically able to kneel on a person’s neck, isn’t that person prone enough to permit less lethal forms of restraint? Seems to me that even if a cop were trying to “do it right” and not intentionally murder the person, it would be difficult to do it right without accidentally crushing someone’s windpipe.

    1. Yeah, better to just shoot ’em in the neck than kneel on it, especially if the perp was trespassing.

      1. Ha ha ha. Oh that’s so funny. Let me guess, you believe Jesse’s Big Lie?

        Let me even repeat what I actually said, so that you can point out where specifically you disagree:

        From a libertarian perspective, Ashli Babbett was trespassing, and the officers were totally justified to shoot trespassers. Again from a libertarian perspective, the officers would have been justified in shooting every single trespasser. That would not have been wise or prudent, of course.

        What is your specific, rational objection to this statement? Is it that lethal force is not justified in the defense of property, within a libertarian framework? Is that it?

        1. “…From a libertarian perspective, Ashli Babbett was trespassing, and the officers were totally justified to shoot trespassers…”

          My specific, rational objection is that you are full of shit.

          1. No one under the age of 90 cares what you think, Sevo.

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            2. wrong, jeff. I even read your drivel occasionally. I currently don’t skip many people here.

        2. “Libertarians also believe that our current justice system has many punishments that far outweigh the crimes committed. We believe that punishments should be proportional to the crime committed and should be fair and humane. ”
          –https://www.lp.org/issues/crime-and-justice/

          Summary execution for trespassing “far outweigh[s] the crime committed.”

          1. The officers there were not carrying out a sentence rendered by a jury. They were there as hired security of the state defending property of the state.

            NOBODY is arguing that a sentence of “summary execution” should be a proper verdict in a criminal trial of trespassing. That is NOT what happened on Jan. 6 and it is dishonest to conflate the two.

            1. The problem with your angle is that you do not concede that a sentence WAS carried out, execution by (one-man) firing squad, without the benefit of: counsel, arraignment, fair and speedy trial by jury, and appeal.

              Whether or not a crime was committed by Ashli Babbitt is in question. To answer that, considering that she was doing pretty much the same thing as the protestors next to her near the Speaker’s Lobby, under the circumstances we would have to know what the persons adjacent to her at the Speakers’ Lobby doors were or will be charged with, if anything, and what they are convicted of, if convicted.

              1. a sentence WAS carried out

                Stop right there. No it was not. The police were not carrying out a sentence rendered by a jury in a court of law. They were there in the capacity of defenders of property hired by the owners of that property (the state). It is dishonest narrative-pushing to suggest otherwise. What the police did on that day was no different, again from a libertarian perspective, than if a private security guard, hired by a company, shot a trespasser on private property owned by the company. Or for that matter, if you shoot a trespasser on your own private property. Neither you, nor the security guard, nor the officer on Jan. 6, is “carrying out a sentence”. They are all defending property rights.

                1. The Capitol cop was judge, jury, and executioner.

                  You keep working this “from a libertarian perspective” angle. You claim that from a libertarian perspective (whatever that means) it’s just fine to shoot and kill someone for simple trespassing on property. OK, show me a quote or statement from any libertarian philosopher that espouses the same idea.

                2. Apparently the concept of proportionality is lost on you.

                  Criminal Jury instructions for the District of Columbia
                  Fifth Edition (2014)
                  VI. DEFENSES

                  Instruction 9.501. SELF-DEFENSE—AMOUNT OF FORCE PERMISSIBLE

                  A. NONDEADLY FORCE

                  A person may use a reasonable amount of force in self-defense. A person may use an amount of force which, at the time of the incident, s/he actually and reasonably believes is necessary to protect himself/herself from imminent bodily harm.

                  B. DEADLY FORCE

                  A person may use a reasonable amount of force in self-defense, including, in some circumstances, deadly force. “Deadly force” is force that is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. A person may use deadly force in self-defense if s/he actually and reasonably believes at the time of the incident that s/he is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which s/he can save himself/herself only by using deadly force against his/her assailant.

                  C. EXCESSIVE FORCE (TO BE USED WITH EITHER DEADLY OR NONDEADLY FORCE)

                  Even if the other person is the aggressor and [name of defendant] is justified in using force in self-defense, s/he may not use any greater force than s/he actually and reasonably believes to be necessary under the circumstances [to prevent the harm s/he reasonably believes is intended] [to save his/her life or avoid serious bodily harm].

                  In deciding whether [name of defendant] used excessive force in defending himself/herself, you may consider all the circumstances under which s/he acted. A person acting in the heat of passion caused by an assault does not necessarily lose his/her claim of self-defense by using greater force than would seem necessary to a calm mind. In the heat of passion, a person may actually and reasonably believe something that seems unreasonable to a calm mind.

        3. No I don’t think libertarianism condones killing for simple trespass.

          1. Read below, and if you disagree, clearly state why.

          2. I would not condone shooting an unarmed trespasser without warning, but that’s not the question. Someone breaks in. You confront them. They keep coming. _Now_ it’s self-defense. Shoot for body center of mass until they stop.

            It’s a bit less clear if the trespasser was not advancing, but also not leaving. In a society that properly protects property rights (which DC may no longer be), you can call the police. And if the trespasser resists them, the police can use physical force, up to and including gunfire. But in this case, it was the police. The only question is whether the situation had deteriorated to the point that lethal force was justified. There were several cops there, and if several cops cannot restrain one woman, they aren’t fit to be cops.

            A final complication is when there are more than one trespassers. The threat level rises, and it becomes difficult to distinguish whether all of them are a threat or just some – and it is unreasonable to expect the homeowner, guards, or cops to make fine distinctions under pressure. IOW, if you don’t want to be shot, don’t break in and act threateningly, and don’t go with those that do.

        4. Trespassing is too broad a term. A dog or kiddo walking on my lawn is trespassing.

          Mortal threat is something else.

          So the judgement goes away from mere trespassing.

          I do not know if the police officer fired in legitimate defense or not. I do know that she put herself in a very dangerous position by her own choice.

          This was not the 6th grade bus trip and one of them wandered off.

        5. Where was the sign or notice not to trespass? Was she confronted and told that she was trespassing, and then told to leave? Is deadly force authorized for trespassing with no threat of bodily harm? Was David Bailey (yep, that’s his name) ever reasonably in fear for his safety? Did David Bailey attempt to arrest Ashli Babbett? And if so, did she resist? Is shooting with intent to kill a proportional response to something that may or not be trespassing?

          Put the crack pipe DOWN!!!

      2. Since so many of you want to demagogue this issue, let me just be explicitly clear about what I mean.

        *FROM A LIBERTARIAN PERSPECTIVE* – that phrase is key here – rights are rights, and violating *any* of my rights is just as bad at least from a moral point of view. If I am morally justified in using lethal force in defending one of my rights, then I am morally justified in using lethal force in defending any of my rights. This does not change if I am hired by another to secure and defend the rights of my employer. And the police, on Jan. 6, were serving as hired security agents for the state to defend the property of the state against trespassers. (And no, the US Capitol building is not owned by “the people”, it is owned by the state.)

        None of this means that it is necessarily WISE to use lethal force against trespassers. Only that it is morally justified to do so – IN A LIBERTARIAN FRAMEWORK.

        So once again, if you disagree with this analysis, *from a libertarian framework*, specifically state why.

        But if you do agree, or – as is I think closer to the case – you don’t really give a shit and only come here to troll, then STFU.

        1. I replied above.

          The libertarian perspective on self defense is not unusual nor different than any moral perspective.

          Initiation of violence is wrong. Defense against that is legitimate.

      3. It seems like every time the police try to shoot someone in the neck, they end up accidentally shooting them in the back instead.

  3. Don’t fucking call the police. The government is not mommy and daddy.

  4. if the picture is to be believed, this man does not have the right complexion for anyone to actually “care”.

    1. Neither did Tony Timpa, who died the same way.

    2. Exactly

  5. “Drugs were not involved,” Benjamin Nisenbaum, a lawyer in the wrongful death claim, said at a press conference. “Even if they were, you’ve got a case where the family called police to help them. And they killed him. Police have to do a better job than that.”

    Obviously the police forgot to kill all the witnesses. Rookie mistake.

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  6. Got to love when a mayor admits to being totally clueless. It’s probably the only honest moment in his career. Granted, he’s probably in on the whole cover up and only pleading ignorance. It’s the catch-22 of politics, you always look like you’re lying.

  7. Maybe the national anthem was playing so the cops knelt.

  8. “Antioch Chief of Police Tammany Brooks…”

    No red flags about potential corruption there.

  9. You have to be the ultimate dumbass to call the cops on your own family.

    1. If you use force against your own family, you can end up in very big trouble, no matter how they provoked it. Calling the police puts the use of force in the hands of people immune to the consequences.

    2. This is part of the problem with policing in this country. Suppose you have a relative living with you who is bipolar, who is not taking his meds and is acting threatening and potentially violent. What would you do? You love your relative, you don’t want to hurt him, but you also don’t want your relative to hurt you. So who do you call? In this country, the police are the 24/7 all-purpose help hotline, and that’s probably not how it should be. This is part of the point of the very stupidly named “defund the police” idea. That maybe the resources given to the police to deal with calls like the above would be better spent elsewhere, with people who don’t have the legal authority to kill you or haul you to jail, because that’s not what is called for in situations like this.

  10. “…”This is what we do to keep them calm,” he said…”

    Can’t get much more ‘calm’ than dead.

  11. And yet not a single person rioted, burned anything down, or harmed anyone else over this, and not one single politician made noise over it.

    Oh, wait…

  12. Look these guys are just following Cuomo’s lead about hiding incriminating evidence. Gotta follow that gold standard!

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  14. The victim looks white. Is he?

    If so no big deal right?

  15. Another “post hoc ergo propter hoc” Fake News story from Binion.

    “He would be dead just moments later, after the cops knelt on Quinto’s neck for five minutes, according to the suit.

    Quinto was later transferred to a hospital, where he died three days later.”

    Three days are just “moments” now.

    Binion reports the claim from the family shill that “Drugs were not involved,” Benjamin Nisenbaum, a lawyer in the wrongful death claim, “Even if they were, …”

    One question to always ask of Fake News:
    What is left *out* of the story? You can always be sure that whatever is left out doesn’t fit The Narrative.

    In this case, what is left out is any word from anyone on just what the guy died of, besides a denial from the ambulance chaser that “It sure wasn’t drugs, and even if it was …” for the “mental health crisis”. The shill protests too much, methinks.

    What did the cops say about the cause of death? The doctors? The coroner? The autopsy? Drug levels? Neck injury? All missing from the report.

    The George Floyd incident is a good example on how the Fake News omits relevant data to keep The Narrative alive:
    George Floyd was *already* saying he “couldn’t breathe” before a knee came within 3 feet of his neck.
    If a cel phone microphone can clearly pick up your voice from 20+ feet way outdoors on a street, any lethal breathing problems you are experiencing are *not* due to compression of your neck.
    George Floyd had *no* neck injury of any kind in his autopsy.
    George Floyd tested for 11ng/mL of fentanyl and 86ng/mL of morphine, among other drugs. The fentanyl alone is a lethal level.
    #GeorgeFloydAutopsyReport
    http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/Other/floyd,%20george_report.pdf

    1. In his defense, this story is more credible than George Floyd’s hoopla.

  16. ‘As for what he’d like to see fundamentally change in the community, he answers quickly: “There are people in our community who have a deep, deep, deep, deep, deep trust of the police. And that’s wonderful,” he says. “But everyone should have that kind of trust. And right now, we just don’t have that.”’

    Noone should ever trust the police or any other government agent. The state is an undying monster which will forever be plagued by shadows of corruption. Perhaps we can tame it, and perhaps it can benefit us, but it will always be very, very dangerous.

  17. I missed the riots and protests. Guess he wasn’t the right color. So his life didn’t matter.

    1. Ya, this is what I love about white people. Kill an innocent black man and they will riot kill a an innocent white kid and his dad will offer his own wife up to have sex with him for doing it and offer to deliver the blow job himself if she’s too busy.

      No one sucks cop dick like white people when one of their own is murdered.

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