Police Investigating Alleged Officer-Involved Altercation After Video Surfaces

Office of Municipal Investigations And Citizens Police Review Board Probing Incident

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is investigating after a video surfaced depicting an alleged officer-involved altercation on the South Side early Sunday morning.

A video posted to Twitter by Damian J. Trott appears to show two officers engaged in an altercation with a man on the ground.

Trott wrote on social media that the incident took place on Carson Street near Mario’s South Side Saloon.

He told KDKA that he was taken aback by what he saw.

“It did seem excessive. Obviously, you see on the video, the guy was laying there on his stomach, he had his hands up by his head on the ground, and then you see a knee to the head and a pretty bad kick, which is what I believe caused the cut on his face,” Trott said.

KDKA’s Lisa Washington Reports:

Pittsburgh Public Safety Spokesperson Sonya Toler could only confirm that an investigation is being conducted into the incident.

Mayor Bill Peduto released this statement Monday:

“I have been made aware of an incident that took place early Sunday morning outside of an establishment on the South Side that involved two police officers. I have been in communication with Public Safety Director Hissrich and Police Chief Schubert and have asked the Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI) to conduct a thorough investigation of the entire exchange. We are aware that a bystander captured a portion of the incident on video and that will be taken into account. We also expect to review security footage from the site of the incident and surrounding establishments that might be available as well as any documentation and witness accounts of the incident.”

A police criminal complaint describes an incident in which officers were called to the 1500 block of East Carson Street around 2 a.m. Sunday morning after an employee at The Flats stated he had been threatened with a gun outside the bar. The suspect, later identified as Nathan Stanley III, allegedly claimed he had a gun and threatened to “shoot y’all up.”

According to the criminal complaint, Stanley later directed more threats toward Officer Raymond Toomey, who began to place Stanley under arrest. Officer Toomey stated that Stanley resisted and attempted to choke him. At this point, a second police officer arrived at the scene. Toomey stated that he delivered two closed fist punches to Stanley’s midsection and another two closed fist punches to Stanley’s face. After taking Stanley to the ground, Toomey stated he delivered a knee strike and a kick to Stanley’s head. Stanley had allegedly been holding his arms underneath his body, making it so Toomey and another officer could not handcuff him. Toomey said he feared Stanley was trying to reach toward his waistband for a weapon.

The police criminal complaint makes no mention of any weapon being found in Stanley’s possession. He is charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

He was taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital to be checked out and then was transported to Allegheny County Jail. Stanley will appear in court next week.

In addition to the Office of Municipal Investigations, the Citizens Police Review Board is also opening an investigation into the incident.

“I don’t know why they were on the ground, why they were hitting him in the head, his hands were out in front of him. I don’t know what degree of resistance was actually there, but we can learn a lot from talking to all of the people who may have observed it,” said Elizabeth Pittinger, the board’s executive director.

The Citizens Police Review Board will send its findings to the mayor’s office and police chief.

“The question would be what happened?” said Pittinger. “What instigated the encounter in the first place? And what we saw in that 10-second clip is just a tiny bit of the whole incident, of course.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact the City of Pittsburgh Office of Municipal Investigation at 412-255-2804.

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