WATCH: Disturbing Video Shows Worcester Police Punching Two Men Outside Strip Club

When Janelle Smith and Britny Ly were sitting in a car outside the Riviera Show Club early Sunday morning, they didn’t know what to do as they saw an altercation between two men and police escalate.

The two took out their phones and started taking videos.

Smith and Ly saw Worcester police attempt to arrest the two men, but a struggle ensued. Several police officers surrounded the men and one officer repeatedly punched one of the men in the head.

Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent on Monday afternoon said an initial review indicates that the use of force “falls within the parameters of policy and training standards under the circumstances.”

But Smith in an interview on Monday said she felt the police response was “a bit much.”

Worcester police say an initial review of videos showing officers punching two men during arrest shows the officers followed protocol in use of force.

Videos taken by Smith and Ly outside the Southbridge Street club have been virally spread across Facebook.

“It was like a beating,” she said. “Eight cops versus two men. It was disturbing.”

Smith said one of the men passed by her earlier in the night inside the strip club and she could tell that he was intoxicated. She did not see the men at any other point, but she said a friend told her the two were “going crazy in the club.”

Those two men have been identified by police as 23-year-old Mitchell Lugo of Spencer and 27-year-old Zachary Lugo of Rutland.

Police said the Lugo brothers had been causing problems at the club all night.

Smith and Ly had been sitting in the car for 20 or 30 minutes when she saw two men start arguing around 1:50 a.m.

One of the police officers pushed one of the men against a white pickup truck and then the situation escalated, as shown in short video clips shared with MassLive.

“I think the guy does start to resist arrest,” Smith said. Police were “obviously trying to take him to the ground.”

“Once they had him to the ground, they had him on the ground,” she said, adding that the punches thrown after that seemed unnecessary.

Smith said she heard one of the men yelling that he couldn’t breathe. She saw the men kicking. One of the men had his face pressed into the cement, she said.

“It was bit much,” she said. “They could have just gotten arrested. They didn’t have to get beat up.”

Police say both men were shouting racial slurs at the officers.

The two brothers focused on an Asian-American officer, police said, calling him racial slurs and “saying that knew people who would kill the officer’s family for them.”

Mitchell Lugo allegedly hooked his arm around an officer’s head as the events unfolded.

An officer took Mitchell to the ground, but Mitchell continued to try to grab the officer by the neck, according to police. 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,” police said. “At this point, both brothers were actively fighting and there were still only two officers on scene. An officer was able to place one handcuff on Mitchell, who continued fighting with his other hand.”

In a police report filed in Worcester Central District Court, Officer Michael Mason wrote that Zachary Lugo reached for his firearm “in an attempt to disarm him.”

Zachary Lugo punched an officer while on the ground, police said. Both men were eventually placed in handcuffs.

The clips, posted by a user to Facebook, show Worcester police officers repeatedly punching the suspects after bringing them to the ground.

Smith said she believes the officers had opportunities to handcuff the two men.

“In the moment we were really bothered by it,” Smith said. “We were just confused. We didn’t understand it. At the end of the day, I was just really disturbed by it.”

Mitchell Lugo is charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, civil rights violation and assault and battery on a police officer.

Zachary Lugo is charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, attempt to disarm a police officer and assault and battery on a police officer.

The two are expected to be arraigned in Worcester Central District Court on Tuesday.

“I just feel like the police could have handled it differently and could have just arrested him,” Smith said. “I just wanted the situation to be dealt with differently.”

Police have requested copies of Smith’s and Ly’s videos to aid in the investigation of the incident, Smith said.

A full investigation of the use of force is being conducted, police said.

“When we conduct these investigations, we gather as much information and as many facts as possible,” Sargent said in a statement. “Our members of the Bureau of Professional Standards then review the circumstances, level and the degree to which force was used. The initial review indicates that the use of force falls within the parameters of policy and training standards under the circumstances.”