PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man is suing Pittsburgh police claiming he was brutalized and stopped for what his car accident lawyers call, “driving while black.”
Anthony Kenney says an officer hit him in the face twice with a gun during a traffic stop, but police say he ran a stop sign and refused to stop.
Nothing in the police report shows any sign of a scuffle or any injuries to the north side resident.
Pictures of Kenney’s face, however tell a different story. There are cuts and bruises, and a black line across his cheek to his ear is what he says the result of being struck by the officer’s service revolver.
The pictures were taken in the hospital the night Kenney said he was beaten by the cop.
“He walked up on me with the firearm and he still had it pointed at me until my body got halfway out of the car. He struck me twice with it,” Kenney said.
He then said he got yanked from the car.
“He handcuffs me and started punching me in my face,” he said.
Police reports indicate Kenney was driving with his brother on the North Side near Olive Street and Lafayette Avenue. The report said he did not stop at a stop sign and his brother jumped out and ran.
Police said he did not stop when ordered to and refused to exit the vehicle.
“As soon as this much of my body got outside the door [pointing to his torso], he cracked me twice in my face [with] his firearm,” he said.
Kenney’s brother was picked up nearby, arrested, and convicted of cocaine possession, Kenney of fleeing an officer.
Kenney’s attorney calls this a case of racial profiling.
“Mr. Kenney was subjected to deadly force for nothing more than allegedly not bringing his car to a full stop at a stop sign and not using a directional,” Tim O’Brien, a civil rights attorney, said. “Enough is enough. There has to be a zero-tolerance for beating of young African-American males and there has to be zero-tolerance of policies that permit that to happen.”
The two officers, Matthew Turko and Robert Smith, are named in the lawsuit as well as Chief Nate Harper.
Kenney took photos of his injuries to the FBI. There was no comment Thursday from the FBI on their investigation.
City of Pittsburgh attorneys have not seen the lawsuit yet and were not available for comment.