(KTLA) – Seven California Highway Patrol officers and a registered nurse have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of an alleged DUI driver in California nearly three years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Officers Dionisio Fiorella, 39; Michael Little, 57; Dustin Osmanson, 41; Darren Parsons, 48; Diego Romero, 35; Justin Silva, 30; and Marciel Terry, 32; as well as RN Arbi Baghalian, 42; have been charged in the death of Edward Bronstein.
The officers have also been charged with assault by an officer.
On March 31, 2020, Osmanson and Terry pulled over Bronstein in Burbank on suspicion of driving under the influence, prosecutors said.
The officers took Bronstein, 38, to a CHP maintenance yard in Altadena and obtained a warrant to draw his blood.
Bronstein at first refused to have his blood drawn but eventually agreed as officers “pushed him to the ground,” the DA’s Office alleges, adding that six officers then pinned a handcuffed Bronstein down as Baghalian drew his blood.
“While pinned down, Bronstein repeatedly told officers he could not breathe,” the DA’s Office stated in a news release. “As the blood draw continued, Bronstein became unresponsive. He was kept facedown for approximately six more minutes.”
The DA’s Office alleges that officers waited 10 minutes after Bronstein became unresponsive to begin CPR. He never regained consciousness and was later pronounced dead, officials said.
Bronstein had meth, marijuana, and alcohol in his system and his cause of death was listed as acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement. Luis Carrillo, an attorney representing Bronstein’s father, said Bronstein’s death was caused by suffocation while being held down.
The incident was caught on video, which was released nearly two years after Bronstein’s death.
“The state of California did not want us to release this video,” Carrillo said at the time. “Thank God that the judge agreed with us and that’s why you’re going to have this video. It’s horrible, but justice must be done.”
Bronstein’s daughter, Brianna Palomino, described her father as a “good person” who did not deserve to die the way he did. “He was treated like trash, like his life was not deserving,” Palomino said when the 18-minute video was released.
“For the system to work, people must be able to trust law enforcement. Police accountability is critical to building that trust, and it is necessary for public safety,” District Attorney George 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.”
The defendants have not been arrested, but will be allowed to surrender, a spokesperson for the DA’s Office told Nexstar’s KTLA. Arraignment dates have not been set, and the incident remains under investigation by the CHP.