PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Springdale Borough Police Sgt. Mark Thom is already headed to federal prison on federal civil right violations.
He is accused of illegally tasing one man named Gary Cahill.
“He jumped out of his police car with an AR-15 pointed at me,” Cahill said.
The incident happened in Springdale in December of 2011.
According to the FBI investigation of the incident, once Thom pulled Cahill over, handcuffed him and put him in a squad car. He tased him between seven and 12 times.
“It was really bad when I was getting tased,” Cahill said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever felt. I felt like I was dying, I really did, that’s how bad it was.”
Thom has a history in court. A few months ago, Springdale Borough settled a lawsuit with former County Police officer Ray Rhabos. Thom was accused of roughing him up.
Attorney Tim O’Brien represented Rhabos and now Cahill.
“Anybody who pleads guilty to the violation of a citizen’s constitutional rights, charged by the federal government, based up what that person did given the history of abuse, that person poses a serious threat and danger to all citizens,” O’Brien said.
Leaders here in Springdale don’t see it that way.
“He’s a local guy, he lives here, he has a family here, he has two young children and it’s the right thing to do, to give the guy employment so his wife and kids can eat,” Springdale Borough Councilman Dave Finley said.
When it was mentioned that Cahill pleaded guilty, Finley said, “I don’t care.”
After being fired as a police officer, Thom has been hired as a public works employee.
“As far as we’re concerned, he did a fine job as a policeman,” Finley said.