Man sues Worcester police after officers allegedly beat him

WORCESTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A local man is suing Worcester police officers after he says a video shows them beating him until he has a seizure.

On Wednesday night, the police department responded to the incident after a lawsuit was filed in federal court, accusing two officers of police brutality. FOX25 has obtained cell phone video, allegedly from a woman who saw the altercation happen.

Edwin Vega-Santiago says he was just standing on the street with his friend and girlfriend July 15, 2012 when he was attacked by two Worcester police officers. His attorney Hector Piniero showed FOX25 video from what he says is an eye witness account to it all.

"And she says, no, he threw him against the ground and cracked his head, meaning the officer," Piniero said.

In a suit filed in federal court by Piniero, Vega-Santiago says without speaking, Detective James Guittar and Officer Michael Ryder slammed him into their cruiser and punched him three times in the groin. Vega-Santiago, who claims to be an epileptic, says the third punch sent him to the ground where he hit his head on the pavement and had a seizure.

"You can see that he's shaking. You can see that one of the officers appears clearly to have pointed a baton to his face. Something they deny," Piniero said.

According the complaint, Guittar and Ryder denied hurting Vega-Santiago and allegedly suggested he faked a seizure because "he didn't want to go to jail" and that he had spontaneously "gone to the ground and started having seizures."

Vega-Santiago was never charged with a crime and Piniero says police had said he and the two women were trespassing, and one of those women was called a racial slur. Piniero says his client is suing the city, police and the officers involved for medical expenses and to shed light on what they call a common practice with the Worcester police force, citing 14 federal cases alleging police beatings.

The Worcester mayor's office and police say they can't comment directly on legal matters but their police chief said in a statement, "There is no tolerance of concealing misconduct or unnecessary use of force by members of the Worcester Police Department. When the facts support a sustained complaint, appropriate disciplinary action is taken against the officer."