Edward Bronstein Yelled 'I Can't Breathe' Moments Before Dying in Police Custody, Newly Unsealed Video Shows

Edward Bronstein, 38, died while in the custody of California Highway Patrol just weeks before George Floyd died in a similar manner.

Some of the last words of Edward Bronstein, a 38-year-old man who died pinned to the ground by California Highway Patrol, were “I can’t breathe,” according to newly unsealed police video. He had been taken into custody following a March 2020 traffic stop – and died just weeks before, and in a similar manner as, George Floyd’s murder by police that sparked a global movement condemning police brutality and racial injustices. 

The video taken by the CHP had been sealed until Tuesday when a federal judge deemed “the public’s interest in the conduct of its peace officers outweighs other interests and any risk of particularized harm,” according to CNN

The video was ordered to be made public for use in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Bronstein’s family in December 2020, in which they alleged officers used “excessive and objectively unreasonable force” against Bronstein, who was “unarmed, unrestrained and surrounded by uniformed peace officers,” CNN reported. 

“My dad was a good person,” Bronstein’s daughter, Brianna Palomino said at a press conference following the video’s release. “Nobody deserves to die this way. He was treated like trash, like his life was not deserving.”

The LA County coroner’s office had officially ruled Bronstein’s cause of death as “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.” The report also noted he died in a parking lot.

On March 31, 2020, Bronstein was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was taken into custody and transferred to the CHP Altadena Station, according CNN, citing the lawsuit. 

Officers had been trying to draw his blood to measure his alcohol content, and told Bronstein they had a court order for the test, according to reports. 

Video shows Bronstein handcuffed behind his back and being placed on his knees on a mat, and though he says he will willing comply, he then asked why the test would be necessary.

One of the officers is heard saying, “You are bringing the fight to this, not us.” Bronstein replies, “I am not bringing the fight at all.”

One of the officers tells Bronstein to “have a seat and provide your arm,” and warns him, “this is your last opportunity” to comply, “otherwise you’re going face down on the mat and we’re going to keep on going.”

Bronstein had a fear of needles, the family said at the press conference.

He does, however, say he will allow the test, but is also heard later saying that he “cannot do it.”

“I’ll do it willingly, I’ll do it willingly I promise,” he says as several officers push him face down on the mat, the video showed.

The video then showed Bronstein screaming, “I can’t breathe,” while on the ground handcuffed. He also yelled “put your leg down" at an officer, the video showed. 

The footage shows Bronstein eventually stopped screaming and speaking, and could then only be heard making grunting noises. He then seemed to stop moving, the video showed.

Officers and someone that appeared to be a medical professional continued to take his blood sample as others checked him for signs of life, according to the video. After several minutes of checking and ordering for him to be uncuffed, medical professionals are seen attempting to provide medical aid, the video showed. 

Bronstein did not appear to regain consciousness in the video.

No officers have been arrested or charged.

CHP has not responded to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment but has told other media outlets they are declining to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

Bronstein's family's attorney have also not responded to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.

Related Stories