PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The FBI is now involved in the investigation into an incident at a local halfway house.
With a growing sensitivity over the use of force by police, the FBI is taking a closer look at the confrontation between Pittsburgh Police and a man at The Renewal Center last August.READ MORE: Pittsburghers Have Mixed Reactions To Weekend Traffic Restrictions On East Carson Street
The incident was caught on surveillance video. Police say Lonnie Jenkins allegedly lunged at officers and resisted. But Jenkins’s lawyer says there was no reason to beat him.
Jenkins was allegedly stuck 17 times with a baton.
“Sometimes police have to use force and that’s understandable. But I believe, I don’t believe, I’m pretty certain that in this case it was excessive force,” said Scott Wescott, the defendant’s attorney. “And I believe his rights were violated.”
But police say Jenkins was resisting the officers and that using force was justified.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Beating His 5-Year-Old Son To Death With Baseball Bat Could Face Death Penalty
“We don’t see anything improper,” said Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, of Pittsburgh Police. “However, we are going to have OMI do a more thorough investigation.”
But now the FBI wants to take another look at it. They’ve been talking to Jenkins’s attorney.
“I got a call late yesterday from the FBI,” said Wescott. “One of the agents, he said they obtained the video, and there opening an investigation with respect to violation of civil rights.”
There was no immediate comment from the FBI on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Jenkins is back in jail for a probation violation. He was serving time for drug violations.MORE NEWS: Upper St. Clair Family Starts Non-Profit Organization To Honor Son Who Died Of Kidney Disease