PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh Police car captured a number of images on its dash cam when it arrived at the place where Paul Parrish’s white car stopped on Route 65 in Brighton Heights back in July 2012.
You see Parrish, the driver, hit with the butt of a gun, then being dragged out of the car, and it appears Parrish was struck while on the ground.
Police found shell casings and marijuana in Parrish’s car.
Attorney Todd Hollis plans to use the dash cam video in a federal civil rights lawsuit.
“It clearly looks to me as if the police officers exacted street justice,” says Hollis. “The video portrayal of the incident is very telling, and what it shows is an officer used not only a coordinated attack to pistol whip my client, but then used a set of made up facts and presented those facts to a magistrate in an attempt to divert wrongful doing on his part.”
Watch the raw dash cam video here:
However, the arresting officer, Robert Ross, says the video doesn’t show everything.
A transcript of his testimony at a preliminary hearing shows Ross testified Parrish was halfway out of the car and ignored commands to get back in the vehicle.
Ross testified it looked like Parrish was trying to grab his gun, so he hit him with his pistol. Parrish falls out of the car and resists arrest, according to Ross.
This was not Parrish’s first encounter with police. His criminal history, dating back to the mid-90’s, includes voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and firearms violations.
But Hollis says what was at issue on this night in 2012 had nothing to do with any of that.
“Regardless of what Mr. Parrish did leading up to those particular moments, at the time that he put his hands out the window, stopped his vehicle, made eye contact with Officer Ross, he was entitled to be treated with the same civility of every other citizen of this county,” says Hollis.
Officer Ross told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was suspended three days without pay as a result of this incident.
Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesperson Sonya Toler issued only this statement:
“Internally, we handled the situation appropriately and expediently.”
Beyond the planned lawsuit, Hollis says the U.S. Justice Department and the city’s Citizen Police Review Board have been contacted.