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Video: N.J. Man Sues Over K-9 Arrest

October 02, 2013  | 

VIDEO: N.J. Man Sues Over K-9 Arrest

A New Jersey man arrested by a K-9 unit outside a casino in June is claiming Atlantic City (N.J.) Police officers used excessive force.

The family of David Castellani, 20, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the agency as well as Officer Sterling Wheaten over the arrest. The family's attorney told NBC40 that surveillance video of the arrest shows officers using "deadly force not just excessive force" and that the police dog "could have killed him."

Officers responded to the Tropicana Casino on June 15 and encountered Castellani who had been kicked out. Surveillance footage appears to show Castellani and the officers exchanging words. The officers then wrestle Castellani to the ground and Officer Wheaten's police dog can be seen biting him while he lays near a vehicle.

NBC Philadelphia is reporting that there are five open federal civil rights lawsuits against Officer Wheaten claiming he used excessive force.

Tags: Atlantic City (N.J.) PD, K-9 Units, Excessive Force, Civil Rights Cases


Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Lenny @ 10/2/2013 2:54 PM

This is as ugly and sadistic as anything I've seen in a while.
Good job officers only five of you and a dog on an unarmed civilian.
Good police work!

S.S. @ 10/4/2013 6:03 AM

Loser lenny at it again. Stay off the sight and get a job!!!

Capt. Crunch @ 10/4/2013 11:20 AM

To Castellani family if you taught your son good manners and not to use drugs this would not have happen. If anyone should be sued here it should be the castellani parents.

P.S. F you lenny

Jim B. @ 10/5/2013 9:46 AM

OK, I hate to say anything that even comes close to agreeing with Lenny, but I have to admit, some of that video is troubling. The part where they are already on the ground and the dog gets involved is obviously after the wrestling match was in full swing, so there is no way to see what took place prior to that. So I can't say whether the dog was necessary or not at that point. It's the other part of the video that is more troubling to me. The part where the officers all run up on Castellani and tackle him to the ground. Now I realize that there is no sound and we don't know what, if anything happened prior to that, but he doesn't look like he's resisting, he's not in a fighting stance, etc. You have to give the suspect some opportunity to comply before you jump on him. I think the officers are going to have an uphill battle on this one.

Kevin @ 10/5/2013 12:35 PM

I am no expert on K-9 training but from what I know I was under the impression that they are trained to bite and hold an extremity (arm, leg, hand, foot). It appears to me that the K-9 is biting the neck/head area of the suspect. If this is, in fact, the case and the dog is acting outside of his training (especially biting an area holding the jugular vein, the carotid artery, and the trachea) it may very well be held to be deadly force. I hope this is not the case.

SixFootTwo @ 2/19/2014 12:57 PM

To the idiot who spoke of it being a crime that this kid had no manners are you insane? This is a case of 6 punks that arent even men let alone cops ganging up on one guy, punching him and beating him and letting an attack dog unneccessarily attack him. These guys should be stripped of their badges and put in jail.

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