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Excessive force suit against Pittsburgh police in federal court

| Oct 8, 2012 | Criminal Charges |

A lawsuit alleging excessive force by police officers who arrested a man at a Pittsburgh bar in 2010 was transferred to federal court on Oct. 4 by city attorneys. The plaintiff in the case, who was arrested on several charges but was found not guilty on all counts, accuses the officers of permanently damaging his cheek bone by punching him and slamming his face against a brick wall.

The plaintiff’s arrest took place in February 2010. He was at a local bar with a group of about 30 friends. The group left the bar but later returned to find the police officers there. The officers ordered the plaintiff to leave the bar. The plaintiff asked why he was being thrown out since he had not done anything.

At that point, according to the complaint, officers working security for the bar punched him in the face. The off-duty officers grabbed him from behind and kicked his legs out from under him. They dragged him out the door and shoved him into a brick wall, which knocked his face into the wall.

The plaintiff suffered a broken cheekbone in three places. It is unclear whether he received medical attention during his 18 hours in jail. He has since undergone surgery but cannot open his mouth all the way, according to the lawsuit. Prosecutors charged him with aggravated assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, but he was found not guilty at trial.

The plaintiff later sued the officers involved in the arrest, as well as the bar and City of Pittsburgh in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. But city attorneys had the case moved to federal court. They said they made the move because the lawsuit involved federal claims.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Lawsuit against Pittsburgh police claiming Station Square assault moves to federal court,” Rich Lord, Oct. 5, 2012

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