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7 California Highway Patrol officers charged in connection with Edward Bronstein’s death in 2020

7 California Highway Patrol officers charged
PHOTO: UNCREDITED/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

Seven California police officers and a registered nurse have been charged in the murder of Edward Bronstein, who died in police custody after claiming he couldn’t breathe. Bronstein died on March 31, 2020, after being pulled over by police who thought he was intoxicated.

Almost three years later, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascn revealed in a press statement on Wednesday that seven California Highway Patrol officers have been charged with involuntary homicide and attack by an officer.

Dionisio Fiorella, 39, Michael Little, 57, Dustin Osmanson, 41, Darren Parsons, 48, Diego Romero, 35, Justin Silva, 30, and Marciel Terry, 32 are among those involved.

The CHP did not reply quickly to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Arbi Baghalian, 42, a registered nurse, is accused of involuntary manslaughter. It’s not clear whether she has a counsel who can speak on her behalf.

“For the system to work, people must be able to trust law enforcement. Police accountability is critical to building that trusts, and it is necessary for public safety,” D.A. Gascón said. “I promise Mr. Bronstein’s family and our community that I will continue to advocate for stronger accountability in use-of-force cases and an independent review of deaths that occur while in law enforcement custody.”

On the day of his demise, Bronstein was pulled over on Interstate 5 in Burbank, California, by Osmanson and Terry. “The officers then took Bronstein to a nearby CHP parking lot and obtained a warrant to draw his blood,” the D.A. wrote in the release. “Bronstein initially refused the blood draw but then agreed to comply as officers pushed him to the ground. Six officers are accused of forcing a handcuffed Bronstein to the ground and pinning him down as Baghalian drew his blood.”

Bronstein “repeatedly,” told police on the ground that he couldn’t breathe. According to the statement, he later became unresponsive as officials drew his blood for six more minutes while holding him facedown. Officers tried CPR about 10 minutes after Bronstein stopped reacting, according to the statement, but he was declared dead soon after.

Bronstein’s family filed a wrongful-death claim in December 2020, according to PEOPLE. They also demanded that Gascón charge officers who were involved in the incident with crimes. Bronstein’s family found a body-camera video of the arrest after filing the complaint. Last March, a federal judge directed that the video be made public. It was then shown during a press briefing.

“The state of California did not want us to release this video,” Luis Carrillo, an attorney for the Bronstein family, told the Los Angeles Times. “Thank God that the judge agreed with us, and that’s why you can now see this video. It’s horrible, but it is the only way his family can get some justice.”

PEOPLE contacted Carrillo after the D.A. revealed the allegations, but did not immediately receive a response. Bronstein is informed in the video, which PEOPLE has seen, that there is a court order for a blood sample.

Bronstein, who is handcuffed in the footage, questions why the police need to draw blood. If he does not consent to the blood taken, he will be held, according to an officer.

According to NBC News, the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office determined Bronstein died as a result of “acute methamphetamine intoxication during law enforcement restraint” and in an “unknown” manner. The family of Bronstein thinks that the police restraint was solely accountable for his death. According to Gascón, the CHP is still examining.

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