Navy veteran dead police
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Navy veteran dead police

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with hearing. A family calls the police during a mental health crisis. They don’t know where else to turn. The police respond, and before we know it, the victim has been shot and killed or physically assaulted. In the case of 30-year-old Angelo Quinto,  the pattern continued.

Police arrived at the household on December 23 due to his mental health crisis. 

“I trusted the police because I thought they knew what they were doing,” Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collin said during a news conference. “But he was actually passive and visibly not dangerous or a threat, so it was absolutely unnecessary what they did to him.”

Veteran’s death similar to George Floyd’s

Angelo Quinto was born in the Philippines. The Navy honorably discharged him in 2019 due to a food allergy, said his sister Bella Collins. At last week’s news conference with their Lawyer, John L. Burris, the family said Quinto enjoyed online gaming, scuba diving, and fishing.

The Navy veteran’s death is one that feels all too familiar for people of color. Just seven months earlier in 2020 the nation was outraged when a video of George Floyd’s death went viral across the internet. A former Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes which killed him. Officials fired the former officer and charged him with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Calls grow for nonviolent mental health crisis response teams

The incident with Quinto is the latest example of why there is a growing call for there to be a separate agency that handles mental health calls and not police departments. It would free up police to handle more urgent situations. Notably, it would also direct mental health calls to an agency that has the proper training.

“He suffered from depression most of his life, but his behavior changed after an apparent assault in early 2020.” At the time, “he woke up in a hospital not remembering what had happened and with stitches and serious injuries. After that, he began having episodes of paranoia and anxiety,” Collins said.

The family filed a legal claim against the Antioch Police Department last week. It gives the department 45 days to respond. The claim acts as a precursor to suing the department, said Burris, the family’s attorney. The officers involved were not wearing body cameras, but video captured by Quinto-Collins shows her son motionless with his hands cuffed behind his back and a bloodied face.

“I asked the detectives if there was another number I should have called, and they told me that there wasn’t and that I did the right thing. But right now I can tell you that the right thing would not have killed my brother,” said Collins.

Mike Creef is a fighter for equality and justice for all. Growing up bi-racial (Jamaican-American) on the east coast allowed him to experience many different cultures and beliefs that helped give him a...

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