ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 20-year-old man is suing after video shows him being beaten by police officers in Atlantic City.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, surveillance video of the June 15 incident shows Connor Castellani, who had just been kicked out of the Tropicana Casino for being underage, talking to officers, cooperatively putting his hands up, then behind his back before emptying his pockets. Minutes later, he crosses a street and yells something at the five officers. Soon after, the cops charge at him, wrestling him to the ground and beating him with batons as they try to handcuff him. Then a K-9 officer pulls up in his car and sics his dog on Castellani.
“When the dog actually chomped on the back of my neck, I was also receiving blows to the back of my head with a fist,” Castellani said.
Castellani was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and aggravated assault on an officer and a canine. He says he did not resist.
Photos from the hospital show Castellani with 200 stitches and multiple dog bites.
“I walked in the room, and he was shackled to the bed by his feet,” his mother, Theresa, said. “He looked like he was in shock. He was bleeding and oozing everywhere.”
His parents thought that was the worst part was over — until they saw the surveillance video.
“You don’t want to see that happen to anyone, especially your own child,” Theresa Castellani said.
Castellani has filed a lawsuit against the Atlantic City Police Department and the city.
Police said it’s too early to comment on the suit.
“All I can tell you (is) there is an internal investigation, and when it’s over I’ll be able to speak about the results,” Atlantic City Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said.
Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford called the video “disturbing” and has asked the state’s attorney general to oversee the investigation.
The Castellanis say court records show the K-9 officer has been the subject of 15 prior complaints “related to excessive force or assault.” He was exonerated in all of them, but he still has five additional suits pending against him.
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