Two Marines are charged with assault and battery against San Diego police officers – and part of the incident was caught on police body camera.
The attorney for one of those Marines, 21-year-old Robert Reginato, is calling it an abuse of power.
The incident happened Sept. 21 in the Gaslamp District. The body cam video shows Reginato being shoved to the ground by police. It happened after his friend charged at officers twice.
The video then shows a sergeant pounding Reginato with a flurry of punches. Another police officer can be heard yelling, " Sarg! Sarg! Sarg!"
According to the police report, Reginato “forcibly grabbed an officer to free his friend from police. When an officer attempted to arrest him, he resisted. The only way he was taken into custody is after the sergeant punched him several times in the face."
Reginato is currently on restriction from the Marine Corps because of the incident.
His attorney Paul Neuharth says he’s appalled, adding his client was out celebrating a friend’s return from Afghanistan and a birthday.
Neuharth says the Marines were trying to administer First Aid to someone who got knocked out during a street fight, but police pushed them back.
“You got two Marines that will be kicked out of the Marine Corps as a result of this if convicted of those felonies, which started as giving First Aid to an unconscious person they never knew,” Neuharth said.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office issued the following statement:
"We can only file criminal charges when we believe we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt, as we do in this case. We are moving forward with the case and will be presenting evidence at the upcoming preliminary hearing."