You can't really blame the Huntington Beach Police Department for being pissed off.
Lately, all the news about officer-involved shootings and police brutality has been coming out of Fullerton (the world-famous Kelly Thomas beating) and Anaheim (two officer involved shootings over the weekend). But the Surf City cops can rest easy now, thanks to a video that just surfaced showing their officers beating up on a handcuffed guy who apparently earned their wrath by flicking a cigarette in their general direction.
The incident took place in the wee hours of July 8, when 22-year-old Garden Grove resident Donald Costilow, Jr., was walking down Main Street after a night of drinking. According to a complaint he filed with the city, he attempted to flick his just-smoked cigarette into a trash bin, but it bounced off the receptacle and landed in the general area of a passing police cruiser. The next thing Costilow knew, according to his complaint, the cops had grabbed him from behind and pulled him to the ground.
Cellphone video taken by his girlfriend shows Costilow already restrained, lying on his stomach, with several officers around him, punches flying. “They just came up from behind me and grabbed my arms,” Costilow told the Orange County Register, which posted the video this morning. “Eventually, one got me in a headlock and took me down. He kept saying, 'You're going to sleep. I was totally restrained while guy was punching me in the face…The guy totally lost control.”
The police claim to be conducting an investigation into the incident, but meanwhile, a spokesman for the department defended the officers' actions to the Reg. “A marked police unit is going by, this young man flicks a cigarette disrepectfullly,” the spokeman said. “Two officers go to talk to him and he just walks away . . . He was arrested because that incinerating device hit the ground.”