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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala met with U.S. Attorney Scott Brady to discuss a fight involving members of a motorcycle group and undercover police officers at a South Side bar.
The video is disturbing to watch, Frank DeLuca, a member of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang, is pinned in place against the bar while an unidentified undercover officer repeatedly punches him in the head.
“After his hair was being pulled back and his neck was being pinched, over 23 times in the face and head,” said attorney Lee Rothman.
After the undercover officers and Pagans’ brawl, which was caught on surveillance video, DeLuca and three other members of the motorcycle gang were charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and riot. But their defense attorneys say it is the undercover police who should be charged. The attorneys say the officers were drunk, brandished firearms and provoked the entire confrontation.
“The main aggressor in this incident is seen drinking a fifth-and-a-half of Jack Daniels in shots over the course of four or five hours,” said Wendy Williams, attorney.
The case against the Pagans was postponed on Tuesday while Zappala further investigates the incident. On Wednesday, he met with U.S. Attorney Scott Brady about a possible federal probe, but neither the DA nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office will comment.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office released this statement Wednesday through their spokesperson:
“District Attorney Zappala also expressed his concern over the Oct. 12 altercation inside of Kopy’s Bar on the South Side involving Pittsburgh Police officers and members of the Pagans motorcycle club. As previously stated, DA Zappala believes that several issues with that case are problematic. Once our office is able to thoroughly examine all the evidence, we can address those issues more specifically.”
For it’s part, the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department has turned the incident over to OMI, the Office of Municipal Investigation, and offered this statement:
“This is an ongoing investigation. To maintain the integrity of the investigation, we cannot comment on specifics other than to say that all incidents involving use of force are reviewed, investigators are reviewing all video that documented this incident, and the incident has been referred to OMI for further review.”
At a minimum, the defense attorneys argue that charges against their clients should be dropped and that prosecutors should turn their focus on the actions of the officers. The incident left DeLuca’s face bloodied and swollen, and his elbow dislocated.
“We’re looking forward to our day in court and looking forward for the public to understand that police officers aren’t above the law,” said Rothman.
Everyone is due back in court next week.