YouTube video shows alleged police brutality
A YouTube video raises questions about what one family said is an act of police brutality. The video was posted last week and depicts an incident between Vestal native Robert Leone and Pennsylvania State Police in Towanda. Now the family has filed a lawsuit. Our Melissa Kakareka sat down with the Leones to find out more.
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VESTAL, N.Y. -- Robert Leone was driving his car on Route 6 in Bradford County on March 8, 2010 when Pennsylvania State Police in Towanda received a call from a woman saying she believed Leone had hit her car. Police pursued him, but Leone allegedly did not stop when they attempted to pull him over.
What happened next was recorded on camera and is the subject of a recent video posted on YouTube. Robert Leone's family said it depicts a brutal assault against their son.
"They preceded to kick him, to taser him and to beat him. You will hear them yell, scream, curse at him. The hood of the car is bouncing up and down, that's how severe they were beating him. The most chilling thing was him screaming for his life, the death scream, that stays with me to this day," said Joan Leone, Robert's mother.
Leone was convicted of four misdemeanors after the incident including resisting arrest and assault and is currently serving his sentence in Bradford County.
The Leones believe their son was unfairly prosecuted and contacted retired Pennsylvania policeman Larry Hohol, who put the video on YouTube last week with his commentary included.
Since then, it has gained almost 40,000 hits. A Facebook page supporting Robert also has more than 7,000 members.
"We are shocked that this took on so quickly, that there is so much support for our son and our family," said Joan Leone.
State Police said they cannot comment. The Leones have filed a civil lawsuit claiming police brutality.
"I thought I lived in a country that was complete justice for everyone and nobody should be treated the way my son was treated," said Frank Leone, Robert's father.
They said they want to expose the alleged injustice and bring Robert home from prison.