ANTIOCH, Calif. - Family, community members and public officials gather Friday to honor Angelo Quinto – two years after the 30-year-old Navy veteran died after being restrained by Antioch police.
They remembered the young man while acknowledging what they’ve seen as progress in his case. Earlier this year the state attorney general’s office agreed to review the investigation against the officers. And last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law in Quinto’s honor banning certain police holds.
But Quinto’s family said more needs to happen before justice is served.
"It’s been two years, but it feels like it just happened yesterday," Quinto’s mother, Cassandra Quinto-Collins, said. "I block it. I don’t want to remember all the good things. It’s hard."
Quinto’s presents from two years ago still sit unopened in his family’s home where they held the vigil.
Two days before Christmas in 2020 police restrained Quinto in this home while he was having a mental health crisis. He fell unconscious and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
His sister, Bella, called the police that day.
"I definitely feel like I betrayed him by calling the people he feared so much in that moment," she said.
The case sparked outrage after the county coroner and district attorney’s office cleared the officers.
A pathologist with the Contra Costa County coroner’s office ruled that died from excited delirium syndrome.
The diagnosis is almost exclusively applied when people die in police custody and has been rejected by major medical groups, including the American Medical Association.
"We look back and look at the victories that we can that we have participated in and have supported, things like bringing body cams to Antioch police," Quinto’s stepfather, Robert Collins, said.
Another victory for the family came last year when Newsom signed the Angelo Quinto Act. It bans police holds that may cause asphyxia, which is how Quinto’s family believes he died.
And earlier this year, state Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office agreed to independently investigate the case.
"Because justice is difficult to achieve, we keep thinking about ways to make his death meaningful," Collins said.