Former Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Sentenced To 27 Months In Prison

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A former Pittsburgh police sergeant will spend 27 months in prison for a fight with a fan outside Heinz Field two years ago.

Sgt. Stephen Matakovich was in court Wednesday for sentencing. A jury had previously found him guilty of violating the subject’s civil rights by use of excessive force.

The victim’s mother took the stand during the hearing and asked for Matakovich to be sent to prison.

“It’s hard watching your son being beaten like that. We teach our children to respect police officers then this happens and I think it’s just a blemish on the Pittsburgh police, on all police,” Sherry Despres said.

Matakovich asked for leniency saying he wanted to be present for his two daughters.

Matakovich’s defense attorneys had argued against imprisonment, saying he had led an “honorable and lawful life.”

But the pre-sentence report detailed a pattern of questionable arrests involving Matakovich over several years, and states that he “never used the lowest amount of force available.”

In 56 cases of arrests involving some resistance, 20 involved Matakovich using closed fist strikes to the head and face, and of those, 17 resulted in injuries to the subject such as a “broken nose, broken jaw, or being knocked unconscious.”

“There’s no joy in the sentence but we thought it was an aggravated case for a number of reasons. Aggravated because of the obstructive conduct and aggravated because of the potential consequences to the victim,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song.

There were 34 complaints filed against him at the Office of Municipal Investigations. Eleven being complaints by citizens alleging use of excessive force. The substantiated claims involved allegations of excessive force, false arrest and failing to report the use of a Taser.

Matakovich was also ordered to pay restitution.  His lawyer asked the judge that he get to serve his sentence at a prison close to Pittsburgh.  The judge granted that request.

Acting U.S Attorney Song said Matakovich will likely have to self report to the United States Marshals in the next four to six weeks then head to prison.


One Comment

  1. Good for him! He is the reason there are bullies! Hold him accountable for his actions. You know what they say: “Give someone a whistle……………”. His “power” went to his head and he thought he was untouchable! Jerk!

  2. I commend the jury and US Attorney Song on a job well done…34 complaints, 56 cases of resistance, 20 involved the officer using closed fists w/ 17 leading to serious injury…broken noses and jaws, knocking people on conscious, and using taser without reporting the use of it. I would be embarrassed to be part of a Police force with this type of conduct from its officers. We live in a world of violence and when you watch this man beat a 19 yr old kid like that you start to wonder why the guiding principle is “To Protect and Serve”. For this man it is clearly to “show your strength over a much smaller man and injure”. If this 19 year old was the officers son, I am sure he would do what’s necessary to have the offender punished. I am a Army vet and I am a full supporter of the men and women in uniform but I am not a supporter of violence and I pray this incident is now embedded in the minds of other officers. If I was this young mans parents I wouldn’t stop with just the punishment of this officer.

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