Corrected: Leone was convicted of 4 of the 24 charges, not 20.
Here's video of New York resident Robert Leone, 31 at the time, getting the tar beaten out of him by Pennsylvania State Police for not pulling over for police investigating a hit-and-run:
The incident took place in March 2010. It's getting a lot more publicity now with the release of the video and because Leone is filing a federal suit against the Pennsylvania State Police.
The video is very long. Unfortunately narrator Larry Hohol thinks we need a lot more set up and explanation than perhaps is necessary at times.
Some important time stamps:
- 6:30: The actual dashboard video of the stop and the beating that takes place as they get Leone out of his car. What is claimed (but not visible) is that an officer parked his patrol car in such a way that Leone couldn't exit the driver's side as commanded by police. He is allegedly Tasered through the sunroof of his car, and the subsequent arrest and beating is mostly obscured from the dash cam by Leone's passenger-side door. During the arrest, an officer breaks his hand from punching Leone. Leone is charged with assault for this.
15:00:Leone is dragged next to the patrol car with the web cam but off-camera. There it sounds as though he is struck again several times by an officer. The officer then accuses Leone of spitting on him. He is apparently hogtied and put in the back of the police car. An ambulance called to the scene takes the officer who broke his hand rather than Leone. Leone is brought to the hospital by police for treatment. Hohol claims Leone asked the nurse for help. Police then ordered the nurse to leave and Hohol says they beat Leone again. Police and prosecutors said the Leone attempted to punch an officer while being treated at the hospital.
- 23:00: Back at the patrol station, officers attempt to have Leone arraigned via Internet. When Leone asks the magistrate for help, Hohol said officers disconnected the computer. Leone was allegedly beaten yet again and brought back to the hospital. The officers claimed he was resisting. Hohol shows another medical report indicating that Leone couldn't even remember what had happened or how he ended up back at the hospital and showing injuries to his back and the back of his legs.
Ultimately, Leone was convicted of only 20 4 of the 24 counts leveled against him. The rest were either dismissed, withdrawn or Leone was found not guilty (including the charge of driving under the influence). He was convicted of the initial hit-and-run that prompted the pursuit, attempting to elude police, resisting arrest (for the officer's broken hand) and assault for the incident at the hospital. He was sentenced to up to four years in jail.
Hohol's video misses some important components of the case that the Birmingham, N.Y., Press & Sun-Bulletin documents:
During the 15-mile chase through Bradford County, Pa., Leone drove erratically, crossing into the opposite side of the road at times, as officers pursued him with sirens and lights activated. According to witness testimony and a police accident report, officers began pursuing Leone after he side-swiped another car at an intersection and did not stop.
Leone allegedly had more than 19 times the therapeutic level of amphetamines in his system and a near-empty bottle of legally prescribed Adderall — used to treat hyperactivity disorder — in his system at the time he was apprehended, court documents and blood test results show.
Hohol claims in his video that Leone was never tested for drugs. Leone is bipolar and had been prescribed Adderall by a psychiatrist.
Whatever the truth of the case, the Hohol's video has gone semi-viral, prompting protests in Towanda, Pa., where the stop took place.