WORCESTER (CBS) – Worcester’s Police chief says his officers were justified in using force to arrest two brothers at a strip club over the weekend. A video shows officers repeatedly punching the men. Police claim one of the brothers tried to take an officer’s weapon.
Zachary Lugo, 27, of Rutland, and his 23-year-old brother Mitchell were arrested early Sunday morning after fighting several officers in the parking lot of the Riviera Show Club on Southbridge Street.
Officers broke up a fight in the parking lot, and after separating both sides, they say they tried to get the Lugo brothers to calm down and leave. When one officer tried to get Zachary to move along, police say he “squared up with the officer, and took a combative stance,” so they told him he was now under arrest.
But moments later, that officer had to run over and help out another other officer who was fighting with Mitchell Lugo.
“The officer was standing up and struggling with Mitchell, who had his arm hooked around the officer’s head. The officer was able to take Mitchell to the ground, and Mitchell tried to grab the officer by the neck, which the officer countered with punches,” police said in a statement.
“At this point, other officers arrived and attempted to place Zachary under arrest. He fought with officers and was eventually taken down to the ground, right next to Mitchell.”
A witness recorded video of parts of the arrests and posted the clips to social media.
More officers arrived, but police say the Lugo brothers kept fighting.
“While on the ground, Zachary punched one of the officers and tried to grab his duty belt. In an attempt to stop the assault and protect his gear, the officer delivered a closed-fist strike to Zachary’s face. An arriving officer was running up to the scene and saw Zachary’s attempt to grab an officer’s belt, and delivered multiple quick strikes to Zachary’s face,” police said in their statement.
The brothers were eventually handcuffed, but it didn’t end there, according to investigators.
“Both Mitchell and Zachary Lugo continued to try to kick officers after being placed in handcuffs. While waiting for the wagon, both Mitchell and Zachary were screaming threats and profanities at officers. Zachary and Mitchell focused in particular on an Asian-American officer, calling him racial slurs and saying that (they) knew people who would kill the officer’s family for them.”
“The initial review indicates that the use of force falls within the parameters of policy and training standards under the circumstances,” Police Chief Steven Sargent said in a statement. “A full investigation is being conducted.”
Mitchell Lugo is charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, civil rights violation, and assault and battery on a police officer.
Zachary Lugo faces the same charges and is also charged with attempting to disarm a police officer.
Both of them were arraigned Tuesday in Worcester District Court.