Jury Hands Down Split Verdict In Fired Sergeant’s Civil Rights Trial

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A federal jury has delivered a split verdict in the civil rights trial of a fired Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich, charged with wrongly beating a drunken man and then lying about it in a police report.

Matakovich was found guilty of using excessive force, and not guilty of trying to cover it up.

Matakovich was accused of roughing up a fan, and then lying about it in a police report. The confrontation took place just outside Heinz Field during a high school championship football game in 2015.

Prosecutors say Matakovich lied to cover up what he’d done because he knew he was in trouble.

Surveillance video was the focus of the trial, showing Matakovich pushing and punching the man.

The defense argued that Matakovich’s use of force was justified because he thought the man was going to sucker punch him.

The federal civil rights charge carries up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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