Anthony Mascuzzio accuses cops of breaking his wrist and finger in a tussle over his late father's watch.
The son of a slain member of John Gotti’s inner circle is accusing NYPD cops of breaking his finger and wrist during a violent tug-of-war over custody of his late father’s Rolex watch, the Daily News has learned.
Mob scion Anthony Mascuzzio’s suit against the city seeks $2 million in damages.
It’s an unusual legal strategy for a plaintiff reputed to be a Gambino associate, and who has a rap sheet that includes a conviction for using a baseball bat on a man trying to steal the same watch.
The timepiece has great sentimental value because it once belonged to Gambino soldier Anthony "Shorty" Mascuzzio, who was fatally shot in 1988 while extorting the owner of a midtown disco, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Before the elder Mascuzzio was gunned down by the disco’s owner, he had achieved notoriety for feeding the crowds at the Teflon Don’s 1987 racketeering trial with mouth-watering appetizers and heroes from an Italian deli on Court St. where he ruled.
John Gotti at the funeral of Anthony "Shorty" Mascuzzio, who was killed in 1988 in a West Side disco after he pistol-whipped the owner in apparent shakedown.
Mascuzzio, 34, was wearing the gold watch given to him on his 18th birthday when his Mercedes Benz was pulled over by cops on Sept. 9, 2010, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Mascuzzio was a passenger and his pal who was driving had a suspended license, according to the suit filed Aug. 28.
When cops told Mascuzzio he was being arrested, too, he asked if he could hand over the watch and a gold cross on a chain to relatives at the 62nd Precinct, but cops insisted on vouchering it.
He claims cops “pummeled” and “kicked” him in the battle over the bling.
The unspecified criminal charges were later dismissed and the case is sealed.
Casket of Anthony "Shorty" Mascuzzio being taken from a church in 1988. The younger Mascuzzio was given his father's watch for his 18th birthday.
Four months after the clash, Mascuzzio was arrested by the feds for selling marijuana for the Gambino crime family. He pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 57-month sentence at the federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J.
“Just because you are the son of a person purportedly in organized crime, that doesn’t give the officers the right to violate your rights,” said Mascuzzio’s lawyer Pamela Roth, adding, “He’s not involved in La Cosa Nostra — if there is such a thing.”
Mascuzzio’s father-in-law, Steven "Mad Dog" Arena, is a reputed wiseguy in the Genovese crime family, FBI special agent Theodore Otto testified in 2011 at a hearing involving Mascuzzio’s mob wanna-be stepbrother Battista "Benny" Geritano.
Geritano achieved infamy by stabbing the owner of famed Brooklyn pizzeria Lucali in Carroll Gardens.
A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said allegations in the suit “are merely such until proven otherwise.”
Mascuzzio is due to be released from prison in March 2015.