One more gem for the police state files. When will it be enough? Another disgusting show of police abuse was caught on surveillance camera, showing five Atlantic City police officers beating, punching and kneeing a man repeatedly before a sixth officer drives up and sics a dog on the man. The 20-year-old man, David Connor Castellani, was charged with aggravated assault. The video shows he did no such thing. The altercation begins just after the 3:00 mark. Atlantic Police Chief Ernest Jubiliee told NBC10 that he viewed the tape of the incident that took place and “saw no reason to suspend or remove officers from their regular duties. He also sees no reason to release Castellani’s arrest report after NBC10 report Harry Hairston filed a public records request. It turns out, the cop who sicced the dog on Castellani, Sterling Wheaten, has been sued three times in the last three years for abusing citizens and has been investigated by internal affairs more than a dozen times in two years for excessive force. And apparently one of those citizens left this comment on the NBC10 article.
But the Atlantic City Police Department boasts on its website that it “has one of the finest K-9 training programs in the country. We have trained law enforcement agencies along the entire Eastern United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
According to the Press of Atlantic City:
The encounter lasted less than three minutes — with police and the K-9 seen backing away shortly after 3:12 a.m. — but the elder Castellani, who is a lawyer, said it left his son with permanent injuries, including nerve damage and muscle paralysis where the K-9 grabbed onto his son’s neck. “They’re just here standing around looking at him, like he’s a piece of meat,” said his mother, Terri, as the officers on the tape slowly back away from her son, much of his body blocked by the K-9 vehicle.
Medics arrived about eight minutes later. An officer who arrived after the arrest prevented Castellani from bringing his handcuffed hands up to feel his injuries. Terri Castellani said her son still wore those handcuffs when, hours later, she visited him in the hospital after authorities allowed the 20-year-old to call home. His back and head “looked like Hamburger Helper,” she said, with more than 200 stitches needed to close his wounds. “It was the most horrific sight I’d ever seen,” she said. “I never expected to walk into what I did.”
Castellani is now suing and the incident is supposedly under investigation by internal affairs and the Atlantic County Prosecutor, which we can imagine, will go nowhere. The incident took place in June after Castellani was kicked out of a casino for being underage. The video shows he was exchanging words with cops from down the street when they came charging at him and attacked like a pack of rabid dogs. And police wonder why citizens would not call 911 to report an officer getting beat up.
Call the Atlantic City Police Department: (609) 347-5780.
Atlantic City Police Chief Ernest Jubilee