PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Firefighter accused of assaulting a teenager at a local playground appeared in court.
On Friday, 46-year-old Thomas D’Andrea was in court after cell phone video showed him holding down a 13-year-old boy that he believed was vandalizing a paint truck parked near a playground in Greenfield.
D’Andrea is charged with criminal mischief and simple assault, and his attorney said it started when his client noticed the 13-year-old boy from inside his truck.
“As Mr. D’Andrea was watching this, he’s calling the police,” Defense Attorney Michael DeRiso said. “He realized he’s vandalizing the truck.”
DeRiso claims the juvenile threw the first punch.
“He swings at my client first,” DeRiso said. “My client pinned him down. If my client was the animal they believed he was, he wouldn’t have been just pinning him on the ground. There would have been a full-on assault when police arrived.”
Attorney Blaine Jones said his client, the juvenile, tells a different story.
“What happened was Mr. D’Andrea rushes him … my client basically throws a punch to protect himself, and then Mr. D’Andrea gets him down on the ground and starts hitting him and kneeing him,” Jones said.
Jones thinks D’Andrea should have handled the situation differently.
“This man followed him and engaged him in a fight,” Jones said. “I don’t care what anyone has to say. At some point, you have to be an adult. You have to be the bigger person. Let the 13-year-old go about his business before the police get there.”
“The fact that you use your full force when you’re a civil servant and you’re built for carrying people out of houses and you attack a 13-year-old boy,” said Devid McGovern, the 13-year-old boy’s father. “I don’t think it’s right.”