WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County (WABC) -- A man in Westchester County was trying to help police break up a fight between his fiancee and her daughter, but found himself in handcuffs.
Now, 72-year-old Charles Pateman is suing the White Plains Police Department for what he calls unnecessary and excessive force during that arrest in January.
Video shows it left him bleeding and battered.
Pateman has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and says if this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.
"I'm 72, two officers with guns? I'm a threat to them? Please, just unbelievable," said Pateman.
He says he has replayed the events over and over in his mind and can't understand why the two White Plains police officers treated him that way.
"I've been a supporter of police my entire life and never had any problems whatsoever," he said. "Born and raised in Westchester County."
Police were first called to the apartment building in January, to settle the dispute between Pateman's fiancee and her daughter.
But when Pateman arrived to help, officers refused to let him upstairs and things quickly escalated.
"The officers viciously and brutally slammed him against the wall and then handcuffed him in such a tight fashion that when you see the video, you'll see pools of blood dripping around his hands. His clothes were filled with blood," said Randolph McLaughlin Esq. of Newman Ferrara LLP.
Body cameras recorded Pateman being arrested and transported.
He can be heard several times asking officers to loosen the cuffs which were cutting into his skin.
"They were cavalier, they were brutal and they were indifferent to this man's medical needs," said McLaughlin.
Video inside police headquarters showed Pateman's wrists covered in blood. He says he also suffered several rotator cuff tears and neck and back injuries, in addition to psychological trauma.
"This has been a very traumatic event in my life, something I could not believe could happen," he said.
Karen Pasquale, Senior Advisor to the White Plains Mayor, issued the following statement:
"In matters of litigation it is our policy to not comment while litigation is pending. We have not yet received the papers in the lawsuit, but we are aware of the case and intend to vigorously defend it in court."
Man sues White Plains Police Department, claiming excessive force