LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has charged seven California Highway Patrol officers and a registered nurse with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Edward Bronstein, 38, who was accused of DUI in 2020, Gascon’s office announced Wednesday.
The charged officers were identified as Dionisio Fiorella, 39, Michael Little, 57, Dustin Osmanson, 41, Darren Parsons, 48, Diego Romero, 35, Justin Silva, 30, and Marciel Terry, 32. The register nurse was identified as 42-year-old Arbi Baghalian. Each officer and the nurse were also charged with one count of assault in addition to involuntary manslaughter by Gascon following Bronstein’s custodial death, KTLA reported.
Osmanson and Terry conducted a traffic stop on Bronstein along the I-5 Freeway in Burbank on March 31, 2020, and conducted a DUI investigation.
The officers concluded that Bronstein, 38, was driving impaired. They took him into custody and transported him to a CHP maintenance yard in Altadena. The suspect was non-compliant and officers obtained a warrant to draw his blood.
Bronstein refused to get his blood drawn as several officers “pushed him to the ground.” While multiple officers restrained Bronstein and pinned him down, Baghalian drew his blood, Gascon said.
“While pinned down, Bronstein repeatedly told officers he could not breathe,” the DA’s Office said in a press release. “As the blood draw continued, Bronstein became unresponsive. He was kept facedown for approximately six more minutes.”
Gascon claims the officers waited 10 minutes once Bronstein became unresponsive to begin CPR. He never regained consciousness and was later pronounced dead, officials said.
According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, Bronstein had meth, marijuana and alcohol in his system. His cause of death was listed as “acute methamphetamine intoxication during restraint by law enforcement.”
CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee offered the following statement:
Our agency’s top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of all Californians, and I am saddened that Mr. Bronstein died while in our custody and care. Any death in custody is a tragedy that we take with upmost seriousness. I recognize this case will now move through the court system, and I respect the judicial process … The CHP is committed to providing the highest level of safety and service to all Californians, and building trust with our communities. Following this incident, CHP leadership updated agency policies to prevent officers from using techniques or transport methods that involve a substantial risk of positional asphyxia.
The CHP has also conducted training for all uniformed employees to help them recognize individuals experiencing medical distress. The CHP is exploring alternatives to administering mandated chemical tests when people arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence refuse to submit to testing, as required by law.
CHP COMMISSIONER SEAN DURYEE
The charged officers and nurse will be allowed to surrender, a spokesperson for the DA’s Office told KTLA. Arraignment dates have not been set.