A 33-year-old security guard from Virginia has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with an attack by his K-9 dog on a patron at Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford.
Steven T. Rudy was charged on Aug. 4, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s office, but as of deadline, his whereabouts are unknown.
His arrest followed the release of videos that show a Black man, identified as 26-year-old Khalif Hunter of Burlington City, being attacked by a white security guard’s K-9 outside the restaurant about 1 a.m. on July 29. Hunter claimed the guard pinned him to the ground, then ordered his dog to attack. The incident remains under investigation.
Hunter’s mother — who identified herself online as Tamika Hollywood — posted the videos, which show what allegedly happened during an incident that was said to be prompted by a dispute over the restaurant’s dress code, which bans hats. Hunter initially declined to remove his baseball cap, and is heard on the video calling the guard a racist as he walked away.
“My son had on his hat last night at Adelphia’s. They asked (him) to remove it,” Khalif’s mother said in a Facebook post on July 30. “I guess he moved too slow, and then this happened.”
She also posted a series of photos of what she said were three bite marks from the K-9. Hunter later told authorities he was bitten by the animal three times on his right calf and once on his right thigh. He later received shots for rabies and tetanus but did not require stitches.
Hunter’s lawyers, Simon Haileab and Wapner Newman, weren’t available for a further comment, while Deptford Police Chief Frank Newkirk said in a statement that his department “embraces the importance of freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and community engagement.”
Meanwhile, angry protests in support of Hunter began on July 30 outside the popular restaurant and nightclub in the 1700 block of Clements Bridge Road and continued through last Wednesday. Two protesters from Burlington County were arrested on the first day of the demonstration and charged with disorderly conduct, according to police.
The demonstrators presented a list of demands to the restaurant’s owners, the Balis family, including an arrest, an apology and compensation for Hunter.
“We gave them (the owners) some simple demands, which is simply to apologize to the victim and to the generalized public for that matter,” said Gary Frazier of Camden. He and others in an organized group called “the movement” also seek a ban on security companies using K-9s.
The restaurant’s attorney, Joseph Grimes, said the owners have no plans to apologize or meet other demands, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. But Frazier and his group did meet with the owner and his attorney late Wednesday night according to the Movement’s Facebook page.
The owners did release the following statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page: “We sincerely apologize for any distractions to your Adelphia experience over the past few days. Please accept our sincere thanks for your patience and understanding.”
Protester John Camereno Vera III, a frequent customer of Adelphia, said he understands the restaurant’s dress-code requirements, but that the alleged incident with Hunter went too far. Vera posted comments on Facebook, then joined protesters on July 30.
“I know Adelphia‘s has to have security on certain nights, but I also know that Adelphia’s has a dress code,” said the Pine Hill resident. “I have been there many times, but when I saw the security guard with the dog and the dog bit the guy, enough is enough.”