SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Governor Gavin Newsom signed a flurry of bills into law over the weekend, including one bill spurred by the death of a Navy veteran in Antioch.
Veteran Angelo Quinto’s death motivated Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson) to author AB 360, banning the controversial term “excited delirium.”
“This issue was brought to my attention through very tragic circumstances. In 2020, Angelo Quinto, a Filipino-American Navy Veteran dealing with a mental health crisis, stopped breathing while two police officers knelt on his back and neck. Mr. Quinto’s official cause of death was determined to be excited delirium,” Gipson said. “That is absolutely absurd.”
As a new law, California’s coroners can no longer use the term as a cause of death in autopsy reports, and law enforcement agencies cannot utilize it in incident reports to explain why a suspect died.
Gipson’s office wrote, “Assembly Bill 360 (bans) the term ‘excited delirium’ as a legitimate diagnosis or cause of death for those who have lost their lives while in police custody.”
Newsom’s signature on Sunday made California the first state in the U.S. to ban the term.
The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Antioch Police Department officers who restrained Quinto and held him facedown. His family had called police because the 30-year-old man was suffering a mental health crisis and needed help. A pathologist concluded that Quinto died from “excited delirium.”
Quinto’s family later requested a private independent autopsy, and that autopsy concluded Quinto died from suffocation caused by restraint.
For years, the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association has opposed using the term as a legitimate diagnosis.
“Excited delirium is not a reliable, independent medical or psychiatric diagnosis. There are no diagnostic guidelines, and it is not recognized in the DSM-5, which is the main diagnosis guide for mental health providers. The only place where this term is continuously used is to describe deaths that occur in police custody,” Gipson’s office wrote.
Earlier this year, the Contra Costa County DA’s Office cleared Richmond Police Department officers of wrongdoing after a 47-year-old San Francisco man, Ivan Gutzalenko, died in their custody. Gutzalenko told officers “I can’t breathe,” three times while an officer held him facedown on the ground, the report states. When Gutzalenko was lifted onto a gurney in handcuffs, a police officer said, “Hey, he’s blue,” and paramedics began CPR. The DA’s report concluded that Gutzalenko was experiencing “excited delirium” and under the influence of methamphetamine when he died.
AB 360 defined “excited delirium” as a term used to describe “a person’s state of agitation, excitability, paranoia, extreme aggression, physical violence, and apparent immunity to pain that is not listed in the most current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”
On Sunday, Gov. Newsom signed the following bills authored and spearheaded by assembly members from districts in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- AB 1210 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Sodium nitrite.
- AB 1109 by Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) – Product sales: sodium nitrite.
- AB 943 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Corrections: population data.
- AB 636 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Employers: agricultural employees: required disclosures.
- AB 1118 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Criminal procedure: discrimination.
- AB 58 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Deferred entry of judgment pilot program.
- AB 96 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Public employment: local public transit agencies: autonomous transit vehicle technology.
- AB 1286 by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) – Pharmacy.
- AB 816 by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) – Minors: consent to medical care.
- AB 1121 by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) – Public works: ineligibility list.
- AB 1136 by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) – State Athletic Commission: mixed martial arts: retirement benefit.
- AB 567 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Criminal records: relief.
- AB 579 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Schoolbuses: zero-emission vehicles.
- AB 600 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Criminal procedure: resentencing.
- SB 667 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – Healing arts: pregnancy and childbirth.
- SB 387 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – State property: sale or lease: broadband development.
- AB 225 by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) – Real property: environmental hazards booklet.
- AB 1116 by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) – Money Transmission Act.