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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn charges filed against members of a motorcycle club in the wake of a bar brawl on the South Side last month.
The brawl, which was caught on surveillance video on Oct. 12 at Kopy’s Bar, involved members of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang and undercover officers.
“The video posed problems for law enforcement, as a result of the actions that occurred there. I think that… I was looking forward for an opportunity to start cross-examining the officers,” said defense attorney Lee Rothman.
Following the fight, Rothman’s client, Frank DeLuca, a known member of the Pagan Motorcycle Gang, and three other members were charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and riot.
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But the Allegheny County DA’s Office released a statement Wednesday, saying those charges have been withdrawn based on evidence.
The full statement goes on to say they reserve the option to re-file the charges, and acknowledged the uniformed officers who responded to the incident:
“This afternoon our office withdrew all charges filed against 4 individuals in the wake of an altercation inside of Kopy’s Bar on Oct. 12, 2018. The withdrawal of the charges was based on evidentiary reasons and issues and our office reserves the option of refiling. Our office wishes to acknowledge the actions of the uniformed officers who responded to the altercation, doing so in a calm and professional manor despite being faced with a chaotic situation.”
Last month, defense attorneys said it was the undercover officers who should be charged in the incident. The attorneys say the officers were allegedly drunk, brandished firearms and provoked the entire confrontation.
DeLuca was seen in the video being pinned in place against the bar while an unidentified undercover officer repeatedly punched him in the head.
DeLuca’s attorney said Wednesday that his client never should have been charged.
“Those undercover officers acted in a manner that, I believe, was excessive, and that caused injuries to my client,” said Rothman.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police issued this statement Wednesday night in response to the charges being withdrawn:
“We respect the District Attorney’s decision to withdraw the charges, with an option to refile later.
“The PBP takes all incidents that involve the use of force seriously, which is why we always conduct full reviews when such force is required. These internal investigations are a part of our protocol.
“We also prioritize transparency, which is why we asked OMI and the FBI to further investigate this matter. If it is determined that internal discipline or administrative actions should be taken, such actions will be taken.
“The public and our officers deserve an impartial examination of the facts. There are three separate independent investigations regarding this incident, and we continue to cooperate with each of them.”
District Attorney Zappala and U.S. Attorney Scott Brady met last month about opening a possible federal probe into the incident.