Exclusive: Family claims police brutality after woman critically hurt at New Jersey traffic stop

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Family of critically hurt woman claims police brutality
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Carolina Leid has the exclusive story of a woman critically injured after a New Jersey traffic stop.

CLARK (WABC) -- A family is claiming police brutality and authorities are investigating, after a woman was critically hurt during a traffic stop in New Jersey.

"All of a sudden he grabbed my mother in law by the arm, lifted her off her feet in mid-air and slammed her on the ground. All you saw was blood pouring out of her face," said the driver's fiance, Crystal Palmieri.

Palmieri says she still doesn't understand how a traffic stop escalated to this.

Her fiance's 61-year old mother is in critical condition at the hospital after allegedly being roughed up by a Clark police officer.

"She was trying to stick up for her son because she knew there was no reason I should have been pulled over," said the driver, Fortunato Riga.

Riga says police pulled him over Friday afternoon, saying he blew through a stop sign. He claims a Clark police officer dragged him out of the car. His mother intervened.

"My mom is 61 years old, if she weighs 105 pounds it's a lot," said Riga. "They tried saying my mom jumped on the cop's back. My mom grabbed the cop and said 'why are you going after my son like this?'. He was like, shut up boom and just slammed her, she went face first."

The couple's 5-year old son was also in the car. Antoniette Dilorio is in a medically-induced coma. Her front teeth were knocked out and she has multiple fractures.

Riga was issued several violations, including reckless driver.

He was taken away in handcuffs, and is accused of refusing to get out of the car when police told him to.

Clark police did not comment, but the Union County Prosecutor's Office says the incident is under investigation and witnesses are urged to contact that office at 908-370-8758.

"Now my son is scared of cops and they're supposed to serve and protect us. And all they did was terrify us," said Palmiere.