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Lives Matter, Always

A Police Officer is seen here pinning a Black man to the ground on the street, leaving the latter unable to breathe. The African-American person is trying to utter hoarsely: “Please, I can’t breathe.” As the officer ignores his appeal, the man dies in a few minutes. No, this man is not George Perry Floyd Jr (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020), who was murdered by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest after a store clerk suspected the African-American man might have used a counterfeit USD 20 bill in May 2020. It was Edward Bronstein, a 38-year-old man from Southern California, who died after being held down by the Police Officers on March 31, 2020.

The 16-minute video of the murder has recently been released following a Federal Court order in this regard, prompting the Bronstein family to file a Federal Wrongful Death Lawsuit in the Central District of California against nine California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers. The Daily Mail recently reported that the CHP officers had arrested Edward on Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in the early hours of March 31, 2020. As Edward reportedly hesitated to get his blood drawn (after officers made an attempt to draw a blood sample from him), he was pinned to the mat by 11 Police Officers. The video shows the CHP officers restraining him with their bodies. At one point of time, Edward could be heard saying: “I’ll do it willingly.” Then, he screamed: “I can’t breathe!” The daily also reported that nearly 11 minutes after Edward’s final screams were heard, officers could be seen performing CPR in order to resuscitate him. However, their attempt to revive him ultimately failed, and Edward was likely considered dead at the scene.

Watch: The Edward Bronstein incident

Earlier, Edward’s 22-year-old daughter Brianna Palomino urged the Federal Court to order the CHP to release the video of her father’s demise in police custody. Nearly two years later, the court released the video, documenting the harrowing incident. Brianna condemned the incident, saying that her father did not deserve to die in such a tragic manner. “My dad was a good person. Nobody deserves to die this way. He was treated like trash, like his life was not deserving,” she stressed. Brianna added: “His screams, his face, them slapping him around, it will live in my head forever and there’s nothing more than justice and these officers paying for what they did. I wish my dad was here, every day, and there’s nothing that will take that away.

For his part, Luis Carillo, the Attorney representing the Bronstein family, said: “The State of California did not want us to release this video. 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.” He insisted that the officers, involved in the incident, had “no reverence for human life”. The Attorney told the press: “Even after he said that he would ‘willingly’ obey, the officers still brutalised him anyway. Nobody should die this way. The family will always suffer the loss of love of Edward.

Edward with his daughter

Meanwhile, the release of the video related to Edward’s murder has rocked the American Civil Society once again. Human Rights activists have started staging protests against atrocities committed by White Police Officers across the country. Although Blacks often become victims of Racial Abuse in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum a couple of years ago, and spread to different countries. The move had also prompted the concerned authorities in the US to take actions against officers committing such atrocities.

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