A security guard whose dog bit a man outside a New Jersey restaurant has been charged with aggravated assault, prosecutors said.
Steven T. Rudy, 33, was charged Wednesday in the July 29 incident at Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford, where he was working as a private security guard during an encounter with Khalif Hunter, 26, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said.
A 15-second clip posted on Facebook shows a portion of the heated confrontation between Rudy and Hunter, who starts yelling at security staffers surrounding him after getting up from a curb.
Hunter then walks off as someone appears to call Rudy a “white p—y,” prompting the guard and his leashed dog to pounce, the clip shows.
“He wildin’,” one onlooker says, apparently referring to Rudy and his dog.
Prosecutors said Rudy, of Virginia, was working at the popular restaurant and nightclub through a contracted security firm. Hunter previously had an altercation with security staffers at the front entrance that spilled out in the parking lot.
“The patron subsequently suffered several puncture wounds due to bites from the canine,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Hunter, of Burlington City, told the Philadelphia Inquirer the attack started as a dispute about his Boston Red Sox hat, which he initially refused to remove. The Rutgers University grad was later asked to leave.
The footage doesn’t show Rudy ordering the dog to pounce, which Hunter claims attacked him after the guard said “Live bite!” several times after he already stopped moving
“This will have lingering effects on me,” said Hunter, who is black, adding that he believed his race played a role in the incident.
Hunter said he was pleased with Rudy being charged, but declined further comment, citing a possible lawsuit.
“This is definitely a good start,” Hunter said Wednesday.
A message left with Hunter’s attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.
NAACP officials in New Jersey also welcomed the charges while condemning the “egregious and unnecessary” actions by Rudy.
“The injuries suffered by this young man are disconcerting,” the Gloucester County NAACP chapter said in a statement.
Prosecutor Christine Hoffman said an investigation into the incident is ongoing. It led to protests in front of the restaurant that included at least one person being charged with disorderly conduct, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reported.
Demonstrators had promised to return every weekend after showing up outside Adelphia on Friday and Saturday, according to the Inquirer.
“Adelphia regrets any instance where anyone is injured on its premises,” the restaurant said in a statement. “We again urge calm, patience and respect for our patrons, staff, security and law enforcement.”
Adelphia also terminated its contract with an out-of-state security firm, replacing it with a new company that “does not plan to use canine protection” moving forward.