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Monday, September 17, 2007

Man charged in fight acted in self-defense

Aloysius Stanton fox news report

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Man charged in fight acted in self-defense
The grainy scenes on the security video show a seemingly violent beating inside a McDonald's in Oceanside - but now the question is who administered the beating and who received it.

Aloysius Staton, 24, of Uniondale, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree assault after police arrested him for hitting a man with a beer bottle during a June 1 fight at the McDonald's on Atlantic Avenue, according to law enforcement officials. The bottle shattered on impact and the victim will require multiple surgeries, according to the felony complaint of the incident.

Staton faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

But Staton's lawyer, Bill Shanahan of Garden City, said the security video tells a different story. Staton acted in self-defense when he and his friend were victims of a brutal beating by five or six young white men who had been drinking and were upset that Staton, who is black, had a white girlfriend with him, Shanahan said.

Shanahan called upon Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice to drop what he said were racially motivated charges against Staton and to investigate the other men involved in the fight.

"They refuse to look at the facts of the case," Shanahan said yesterday.

Nassau police declined to comment. Eric Phillips, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said, "The office has reviewed the tape - which we promptly provided to the defense - and it's part of our ongoing investigation into whether there's evidence to support additional arrests in the case."

The silent video shows a group of at least seven young men entering the McDonald's around 10 p.m. A few minutes later Staton, his girlfriend, Deanna English, 21, of Oceanside, and his friend Oswaldo Rivero, 17, of Oceanside, entered.

After Staton and Rivero left the dining room for the bathroom, about five of the young men gathered at the bathroom door, where Shanahan said they made racist threats.

After Staton and Rivero came out, a man in a black shirt picked up a high chair and swung it against the side of Rivero's head. Staton and Rivero exchanged blows with some of the men, and later Staton's hand is seen grasping a beer bottle as he struggled with two or three men.

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