A California man who was handing out Halloween candy when a group of men—including two off-duty firefighters—reportedly choked him unconscious and assaulted him will receive a $7.4-million settlement in connection with the 2015 attack, according to reports.
According to KTLA, Samuel Chang’s attorney said his client was doling out candy at his grandmother’s Chatsworth home when five men confronted and followed Chang as they believed he was acting suspiciously. Chang, then 22, recorded part of the ordeal when the men accused him of giving kids drugged candy.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a bystander recorded when Los Angeles firefighter Eric Carpenter put Chang in a chokehold for six minutes as he lost consciousness while the other men held him down.
One of the other men involved in the 2015 attack was off-duty firefighter Michael Anthony Vitar, a former child actor who appeared in “The Sandlot.”
Attorney David Ring said Chang nearly died in the attack and suffered a traumatic brain injury that affects him to present day. He also claimed while the group called 911 and performed CPR, they falsely told responding crews that Chang was on drugs and armed, according to the Studio City Patch.
Dodgers look pretty good tonight vs Braves 5-0 7th pic.twitter.com/JvK1f43b3U
— Sandlot (@SandlotBambino) October 5, 2018
Though only three men were criminally charged, in 2017 Chang sued five men for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and negligence.
The Times reported that Carpenter was allowed to plead no contest to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 135 days of community service. Vitar and resident Thomas Molnar pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery charges and were both sentenced to three years’ probation and 90 days of community service.
Records indicated that only three of the five men were criminally charged and none of them were sentenced to jail. Moreover, Carpenter and Vitar were allowed to keep their jobs after serving a six-month unpaid suspension.
The 2017 lawsuit was dismissed Monday after Molnar’s insurer agreed to pay $2.1 million on his behalf and the two firefighters’ insurers each agreed to pay $1.5 million each. Insurers for the two other men named in the lawsuit, Michael Cirlin and Eugene Elbert, will give Chang $1.3 million and $1 million, respectively, according to The Times.
Despite the recent settlement, none of the men admitted any wrongdoing.
“Samuel was brutally beaten by these thugs,” Chang’s attorney said in a statement Wednesday. “The civil settlement provides him with some justice for what he endured. Yet we remain incredibly disappointed that the district attorney’s office failed to hold the defendants accountable for this horrific attack.”
[Featured image: YouTube video screengrabs]