WORCESTER — Two brothers whose forceful arrest by police officers outside a strip club here was caught on video appeared in Central District Court on Tuesday.

Mitchell Lugo, 23, of Spencer, had his right arm in a sling, and scuffs and bruises were visible on the face of Zachary Lugo, 27, of Rutland, at their arraignment on charges including resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

Both entered not-guilty pleas and were released on personal recognizance, on the condition they stay away from the Riviera Show Club at 241 Southbridge St. They are due back in court on July 27. They said they plan to retain their own legal counsel.

Neither would comment after the arraignment.

Police say the two brothers placed in custody outside the Riviera Show Club Sunday morning punched and kicked at officers and tried to grab an officer’s duty belt and firearm, leading officers to strike the men in the face.

A video that appears to show six Worcester police officers beating the men on the ground was posted to Facebook on Sunday and widely shared on social media.

Police say Officer Michael Mason, working a paid detail at the strip club, tried to place Mitchell Lugo under arrest after a confrontation escalated.

“The officer was standing up and struggling with Mitchell, who had his arm hooked around the officer’s head,” states a news release issued by the department Monday. “The officer was able to take Mitchell to the ground, and Mitchell tried to grab the officer by the neck, which the officer countered with punches.

“At this point, other officers arrived and attempted to place Zachary under arrest. He fought with officers and was eventually taken down to the ground, right next to Mitchell. At this point, both brothers were actively fighting and there were still only two officers on the scene. An officer was able to place one handcuff on Mitchell, who continued fighting with his other hand.


“As both brothers were on the ground, more officers arrived,” the police news release continues. “At this point, while on the ground, Zachary punched one of the officers and tried to grab his duty belt. In an attempt to stop the assault and protect his gear, the officer delivered a closed-fist strike to Zachary’s face.

“An arriving officer was running up to the scene and saw Zachary’s attempt to grab an officer’s belt, and delivered multiple quick strikes to Zachary’s face. Officers continued to arrive and were eventually able to place both men in handcuffs.”

In a criminal complaint filed with the court, Officer Mason writes that during the fray Zachary Mitchell attempted to reach his firearm to disarm him. Their “actions were tumultuous and served no legitimate purpose,” writes Officer Mason.

Police said the men continued trying to kick officers after being placed in handcuffs, and shouted racial slurs at an Asian-American officer.

Police Chief Steven M. Sargent said in a prepared statement: “The initial review indicates that the use of force falls within the parameters of policy and training standards under the circumstances. A full investigation is being conducted.”