The family of a man whose brutal beating by five Atlantic City police officers was captured on a shocking surveillance video and aired on a New Jersey TV station Friday says they now plan to file a lawsuit over the incident.
In the video, 20-year-old David Connor Castellani is seen being bitten by a police dog as well as thrashed by the officers. He was charged with assault on a police officer, an accusation his attorney says was without any basis.
“If he committed any of the offenses they charged him with, he wouldn’t be on the other side of the street figuring out a way to get home — he’d be under arrest,” lawyer Steve Scheffler told an Atlantic City local newspaper. “I certainly don’t see aggravated assault on a police officer or a K-9. Quite frankly, I don’t see resisting, either.”
Scheffler is defending Castellani against the criminal charges he now faces.
The video is below (warning: disturbing and violent images). A still captured from the recording is at right.
The incident occurred shortly after 3 am on June 15, when Castellani had been ejected from the Tropicana casino for reasons that remain uncertain. A local TV news report said he was kicked out for being underage.
One of the officers involved in the savage beating has faced accusations of excessive force at least three times before.
The video shows officers tackling Castellani then striking him with batons and their knees. About a minute into the beating, a police K-9 vehicle shows up and the cops release an attack dog on the fallen Castellani. The dog bites him and drags him to a curb.
“He told me he kept screaming, ‘I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting,’” his father, David Castellani, an attorney, told the local paper. He also said that the attack permanently injured his son, who suffered nerve damage and a degree of paralysis from the dog bite.
His mother, Terri Castellani, said her son needed 200 stitches for lacerations resulting from the attack.