PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The city has agreed to pay $77,500 to the man who was beaten by former Pittsburgh Police officer Stephen Matakovich outside Heinz Field in 2015.
A federal judge sentenced Matakovich to 27 months in prison for violating Gabriel Despres’ right, and now his attorneys have won this civil settlement.
“The settlement, from a monetary perspective, is good. What’s better in this case was that Stephen Matakovich was held accountable, that the city of Pittsburgh was held accountable,” attorney Alec Wright said.
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Just as quickly, the same law firm filed suit against another Pittsburgh Police officer, Matthew Turko, whom they accuse of using excessive force against a patron at Cheerleaders adult club in the Strip District in May of 2017.
Video shows bouncers removing that patron, Kyle Sholti. Sholtis appeared to press back, but his attorney says Sholtis had relented and was standing still when Officer Turko used a stungun on his chest. Sholtis immediately fell to the ground.
“Matthew Turko takes out a stungun and drive-stuns him straight into the heart, a practice that has been scientifically proven to cause immediate death or permanent injury,” Wright said.
Turko is one of a half dozen police officers who have been sued civilly in connection with a fight with members of the Pagan motorcycle gang in a South Side bar in October. In July 2014, a jury awarded $105,000 to Anthony Kenney, who said Turko pistol-whipped him, causing cuts and bruises to his face.
“He walked up on me with his firearm. He still had it pointed at me, until my body got halfway out of the car and struck me twice with it,” Kenney said at the time.
Neither Cheerleaders nor the city of Pittsburgh would comment in this latest lawsuit but attorneys for the plaintiffs say it’s part of a continuing pattern of police officers using excessive force.