Alexis Aponte and Miguel Rivera, two northern New Jersey men, allege that police in Paterson used excessive force during a 2011 arrest. As proof of the incident, a lawyer for the men pointed to a surveillance video, in which the pair appear to be beaten while handcuffed.
A police brutality suit filed Friday in Federal court in Newark, N.J., names the Paterson Police Department, as well as individual officers.
The video was obtained by the New Jersey Star-Ledger, released Sunday evening and subsequently reposted to YouTube. The footage appears to show "Aponte being kicked repeatedly while handcuffed and then dragged down the street" during a weapons-related arrest that occurred in September 2011, according to the Star-Ledger.
Rivera also claims to have been beaten while handcuffed.
Darren Del Sardo, attorney for the plaintiffs, alleged to local news outlet The Record that police robbed both men of "money, jewelry and other personal belongings" during the incident. Del Sardo told the newspaper that he postponed filing the suit until now because he was concerned that it would affect criminal charges against Rivera and Aponte.
Aponte is currently serving a five-year sentence on a weapons charge resulting from an incident that occurred earlier in the night. Before the events documented in the video, the two suspects and off-duty Paterson police officer were involved in a dispute at a sports bar; Aponte was removed from the premises after a fight and reportedly pointed a gun at a bouncer.
The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office has opened an investigation into the surveillance video, which the attorney for the plaintiffs said came from a camera posted outside the Rivera family's home.
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