A shocking video of a March 2010 arrest has led to accusations of police brutality against members of the Pennsylvania State Police. The video appears to depict five troopers repeatedly beating a 31-year-old man after pulling him over on suspicion of hit and run. The man, who was later convicted, has been denied medical care in the more than two years since the arrest, his supporters say. He has filed a federal lawsuit against the state police and the troopers.
The case received widespread attention after a video of the arrest was posted on YouTube. About 50 protesters joined the man’s parents outside the Bradford County Courthouse for a June 29 demonstration. The supporters said the defendant was wrongfully accused of fleeing the scene of an accident and resisting arrest and was the victim of police brutality.
The defendant was accused of getting into an accident outside of a store in Towanda on March 8, 2010, and leaving the scene. Police pursued him and tried to pull him over, but the defendant allegedly ignored their flashing lights. There was a low-speed chase that ended when police flattened the man’s tires with a spike strip and ramming his car with a police cruiser.
The video depicts the troopers dragging the defendant out of his car and beating him several times. The man’s mug shot following his arrest shows him with blood, bruises and a black eye on his face. He was convicted of four charges and sentenced to 16 to 48 months in jail.
His supporters at the protest said that the man continues to suffer symptoms of a brain injury, including terrible headaches and dizziness. However, prison officials refuse to take him to the hospital for testing, his parents say.
The man has filed a civil lawsuit against the arresting troopers, the borough of Towanda and the Pennsylvania State Police. Following the protest outside the courthouse, the Bradford County Commissioners issued a statement denying any involvement in the arrest.
Source: WETM-TV, “Protesters Call for Justice for Robert Leone,” Shannon Lins, June 29, 2012