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Former Officer Convicted Of Assaulting Handcuffed Inmate

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former police officer has been convicted of throwing a handcuffed prisoner into a holding cell, causing the man serious injury.

Video from the Avalon Police Department jail shows former officer Walter Johnson bringing a suspect into a jail cell last April.

With both of his hands handcuffed behind his back, the video shows Officer Johnson literally throwing an assault suspect at the time, identified as Robert Zilagee, across the jail cell.

You cannot see the impact on surveillance video; however, in reports investigators say the victim was thrown with such force “as to cause him to leave his feet, hurtling head-first toward the floor and near the rear of the holding cell.”

The report goes on to say the victim had “dislocated fractures of the mandible (jaw), lacerations on the chin and left cheek, and loose teeth. A tooth was found lodged in the victim’s airway.”

The surveillance video shows the Zilagee sitting in a pool of blood on the cell floor.

He was taken to the hospital shortly after the incident.

Johnson has now been convicted of simple assault and official oppression.

The fired officer will report to the Allegheny County Jail in January to serve a two-week sentence and will also serve two years of probation.

The Avalon Police chief originally reported his concerns about the incident last year, and his department provided the surveillance video to investigators.

Johnson had a non-jury trial that lasted two days. He had no comment as he left the courthouse.

RELATED LINKS:
Fired Avalon Police Officer Facing Charges (8/23/12)
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More Reports by Marty Griffin

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