PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Opening statements began Monday in the trial of a police officer charged with violating a suspect’s civil rights by repeatedly zapping him with a stun gun, even after he was handcuffed.
Suspended Millvale Officer Nicole Murphy doesn’t dispute she used the stun gun on Thomas Jason James Smith after his arrest for public drunkenness in September 2012. The 30-year-old officer contends she was justified in using it because she was trying to stop Smith from banging his head on a desk and office cubicle.READ MORE: Assistant Marching Band Director At Pennsylvania High School Charged With Distributing And Possessing Child Porn
The FBI began investigating after someone leaked a 52-second cellphone video of the incident to Pittsburgh-area media outlets in early 2013.
Today, jurors saw the video shot by a Millvale Police officer whose partner is accused of using a Taser on a handcuffed suspect in the police station.
Murphy’s partner that night, former officer Casey Bonincontro, videotaped a portion of the incident on his cell phone. Jurors saw the video Monday morning.
Bonincontro testified he took the video hoping to show it to doctors at Western Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic, where he argued the suspect should have been taken.
He said Murphy argued that the suspect, who was drunk, should go to jail.
During opening statements, prosecutor Carolyn Bloch told the jury Murphy said, “I’m not going to sit all night at the hospital with this re—-,” just before using the Taser.
Defense attorney Robert Stewart argued Murphy did what was necessary to keep the defendant from hurting himself or others.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Makes It Illegal For Any Employer To Require Workers To Be Vaccinated
He accused Bonincontro of taking the video for his own entertainment and of having a vendetta against Murphy.
Bonincontro was a “bump on a log partner” Murphy was saddled with, according to the defense attorney.
Judge Arthur Schwab says he intends to end testimony at about 3:30 p.m. today due to weather forecasts.
At that time, KDKA-TV Investigator Marty Griffin spoke with Smith about the video.
Smith said he was Tased about 20 times in the incident.
“It felt like it went on forever,” Smith said of the incident. “I would hate to think that any human being would Taser someone 20 times, let alone a police officer and a person in a position of trust.”
Smith has already settled a lawsuit against the tiny borough outside Pittsburgh for $35,000.MORE NEWS: City Of Washington Police Chief Says He Wants Body Cameras Before A Review Board
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