AB 490 PASSES THRU THE SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
Each year, thousands of bills are introduced in the California State Legislature.
By February, an estimated 1,500-1,600 bills ranging from addressing issues on gun control, environmental justice, adding or reducing regulations, healthcare premiums, eliminating lane-splitting, and consumer protections begin swirling in the accelerated world of California’s legislative process.
This year’s legislative cycle produced a bill that brought local, regional and national FilAms to the advocacy fore in ways unseen.
In February 2021, California State Assemblymember Mike Gipson introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021.
AB 490 seeks to ban and criminalize all positional asphyxia to be used by police and law enforcement officers in California. Assemblymember Gipson, a former police officer, has been a rising champion in passing police accountability laws in the state; he was the author of California’s 2020 law – AB 1196 – which banned carotid holds.
Coinciding with a national outcry and surging anger from FilAms across the country, communities stood behind Angelo’s family as countless news outlets brought light to his horrific murder that took place on December 23, 2020. Caught on video, Angelo was experiencing bouts of paranoia and was in need of mental health services. Worried for his safety, his sister Bella called 9-1-1 – specifically an emergency call to the City of Antioch Police Department.
By the time four Antioch Police Officers arrived to their residence around 12am, Angelo had calmed down. His mother “Tita” Cassandra was hugging him tightly. Unarmed, compliant, and in his pajamas, two officers proceeded to apprehend Angelo: tethering his hands, laying him flat on his stomach, pretzeling his legs behind him, and restraining him for nearly 5 minutes with a forceful knee-to-neck hold. While this terrifying struggle took place, the two monitoring officers told Tita Cassandra that “They did this to calm him down.”
Angelo’s last words were “Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.”
When the officers released him, their force proved not only excessive but lethal. Angelo was motionless and had no brain activity when he arrived at a nearby hospital, where he died 3 days.
There are more questions to Angelo’s case than there are answers. Grappling with the loss of life is one process, however to be a firsthand witness in the act of a brutal and violent murder, is another, and one that no family should have to endure.
Their pain is irreparable and nothing will bring Angelo back to his family.
For these reasons and to prevent future deaths at the hands of police we advocate for real reform and accountability.
Through the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition we have been advocated for AB 490, The Justice for Angelo Quinto Act of 2021. We are pleased to share that on a 4-1 vote, AB 490 passed through the Senate Committee on Public Safety on July 13.
Thank you to everyone that signed the Justice for Angelo Quinto! Justice for All! Coalition letter – together, we gathered nearly 10 pages of signatures and brought 20+ advocates to testify in support of Angelo’s bill.
It is our honor to do this work with all of you.
-Gel Cortez, LEAD Filipino