Unsealed Video Shows California Man Dying in Police Custody: “I Can’t Breathe”

A federal judge has unsealed a video taken by the California Highway Patrol that captures the death of Edward Bronstein, a 38-year-old man who was in their custody following a March 2020 traffic stop in Los Angeles County.

The officers gave him a breathalyzer test, which showed that he was under the legal limit, but they suspected that he was under the influence of a narcotic and obtained a warrant to draw his blood, according to a police report.

After an early morning traffic stop on March 31, 2020, Bronstein was taken into custody and transferred to the CHP Altadena Station, where officers attempted to take a blood sample.

Bronstein questions why officers are taking a blood sample. Bronstein agrees but expresses some hesitancy by asking for “a minute,” and is heard saying “I can’t do it” when almost immediately officers bring him face down to the mat.

Bronstein is shown pinned on the ground by five officers and says “I can’t breathe” at least 12 times within 30 seconds. About three minutes later Bronstein appears to stop moving. Officers and a medical professional are checking for signs of life while continuing to collect the blood sample. After 12 minutes, officers uncuff him, and continue trying to give the unresponsive Bronstein medical aid.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office later determined Bronstein died from “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.” It listed the manner of death as “undetermined.”

A lawsuit filed in the Central District of California alleges officers used “excessive and objectively unreasonable” force against Bronstein, who was “unarmed, restrained, and surrounded by uniformed peace officers.”  The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages and requests a jury trial.

The unedited full video is below.


Who should be the next senator from California?