An author who is investigating the brutal March 2010 beating of a hit-and-run suspect by Pennsylvania State Police officers has made public a video documentary (extremely graphic; Not Safe For Work -- repeated expletives) of the incident in which he breaks down the entire assault and subsequent injustices against the victim.
The author, Larry Hohal, believes the police brutality against 31-year-old Robert Leone to be "worse [than] the Rodney King episode in many, many ways." And his one-man campaign to get the video circulated as widely as possible is picking up steam: protesters rallied in Pennsylvania last week in a call for justice for Leone.
"There's possibly a good chance that there's a cover-up at all levels," said Mike Kitner, a Towanda, PA, resident. "We just want some answers, we want somebody to come down and look into it because we're not getting any."
Here's the back story: In March 2010, Leone was brutally beaten by five state troopers after he refused to pull over when directed. Leone alleges the beatings continued at Memorial Hospital in Towanda, and at police barracks.
He recovered from his injuries, and eventually was found guilty of four charges -- simple assault, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, and accident involving damage -- and sentenced to one and a quarter to four years in prison.
In March of this year, Leone filed a civil suit in federal court against the Borough of Towanda, Pennsylvania State Police, and the five officers who attacked him. He alleges his civil rights were violated and that the officers used excessive force. His parents say he was denied medical attention.
"The paramount point is, he got beat within an inch of his life," says Frank Leone, Robert's father.
District Attorney Daniel Barrett says the video does not show real evidence of the whole situation.
The other people that may have opinions on the evidence weren't there. They can have whatever opinions they want. But that's why we have courtrooms here and not just plazas out front.