San Diego

City Pays Marine Veteran $116,000 to Settle Excessive Force Lawsuit

A man said he was administering first aid to a person involved in a fight when police officers assaulted him

The City of San Diego has agreed to pay a U.S. Marine veteran $116,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging police officers assaulted him as he was attempting to administer first aid to an injured bystander outside of a bar in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter.

Lance Corporal Robert Reginato and another Marine were leaving Onyx Nightclub at closing time on Sept. 21, 2014, when the Marines witnessed a fight between two men.

One of those men was knocked unconscious. Reginato, according to a federal complaint filed in 2015, ran over to the unconscious man and administered first aid. However, the man was unresponsive.

Reginato began rubbing his sternum in an effort to wake him. That, according to the complaint, was when San Diego Police Department officers arrived.

Officers, as shown on body-worn camera footage taken that night, pushed Reginato off of the man and began punching Reginato.

“While being held down on the ground, [Reginato] was repeatedly punched in the face by defendant Patrick Vinson, without necessity or justification,” reads the 2015 lawsuit.

Reginato was arrested and booked into jail.

On July 16, San Diego City Councilmembers agreed to pay $116,000 to Reginato to settle the federal excessive force complaint.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marine Base Camp Pendleton stated Reginato is no longer an active-duty U.S. Marine.

As for the officers involved in the incident, a San Diego Police Department spokesperson told NBC 7 both officers are still on the force. The spokesperson could not comment as to whether any disciplinary action was taken.

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