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Vacationer Sues OB for 25M: Claiming Police Brutality
By David Crohn

A California businessman is suing the Village of Ocean Beach for $25 million, claiming he was the victim of a police brutality incident last summer.

Sam Gilberd says he was assaulted by Ocean Beach cops as he was leaving the station in the early morning hours of Aug. 28. Then police chief Ed Paradiso, then-sergeant George Hesse and other seasonal officers are named in a suit filed in March in Brooklyn federal court.

The 32-year-old former resident of Commack, LI rented a house for four days in Ocean Bay Park with his wife last August. After having dinner with friends, he went out drinking and was brought to the station by a bouncer for tossing a bottle on the ground.

Gilberd’s wife, Kana Manglapus, went looking for him at about 3:30 a.m. She told The Daily News in September 2005 that she found her husband “unconscious … lying on the floor gasping for air.” She said the police told her a clock fell on him.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I lay on the floor in unbearable pain,” he said in a September news conference.

Gilberd was taken by boat to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and then St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where he underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured bladder. He said he spent 10 days in the hospital.

Six days later Gilberd was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb of Commack, called those charges a “cover up” and said it was “peculiar” that his client was charged nearly a week after the incident. “He was charged with littering and then left on a stretcher.” OB police blotter that records the time and incident of each ticket and arrest was not available at press time.

Gottlieb said his client was awaiting a date to appear in Central Islip District Court. The trial was moved from Ocean Beach, Gottlieb said, arguing it would have been impossible to find impartial jurors among the village’s 140 year-round residents. “[Ocean Beach] residents all have a financial stake in their police force.”

Gilberd, who has since moved out of state, did not respond to numerous e-mails seeking comment. His lawyer would not give his phone number to The Fire Island News. Hesse, who is now Ocean Beach police chief, declined comment, as did Paradiso, who said he was on vacation during the incident.

The village attorney, Kenneth Gray of Mineola said, “The village continues to have the utmost confidence in the police department and its operations.” He added that the village is “fully cooperating” with Suffolk County District Attorney’s office as it investigates the allegation. A DA spokesman declined to comment.

Gilberd told the Daily News last September that a friend who witnessed the beating was prepared to cooperate with the Suffolk DA.

A Web site, www.oceanbeachpoliceabuse.com, has since gone online dedicated to Gilberd’s allegations. The site includes pictures of an injured, bed-ridden Gilberd, as well as a blog with entries criticizing Ocean Beach’s police department.