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William C. Snyder Discusses Police Brawl Case with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Posted on Tuesday 3/5/2019
William C. Snyder

Legal experts analyze lack of charges in bar brawl between Pittsburgh police, Pagans

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | March 4, 2019) Last week the top two prosecutors in the Pittsburgh region said they wouldn’t charge Pittsburgh police officers seen on video brawling with members of the Pagans at Kopy’s Bar on the South Side, in one case punching a man 19 times while he was being held by his hair.

Why no charges?

The U.S attorney’s office said Wednesday that the FBI found no basis for federal crimes. The next day the Allegheny County district attorney’s office said it wouldn’t charge the officers with any state crimes, either.

Neither office will comment further.

Undercover Pittsburgh police detectives brawled with members of the Pagans motorcycle club inside Kopy's bar on the South Side on Oct. 11, 2018.

But the consensus among legal experts, lawyers and former prosecutors is that while the first decision is understandable, the second is harder to justify.

“The part that is most likely to be unlawful is the repeated punching of one civilian on the bar who cannot resist. It is hard to see how that is not criminal,” said William Snyder, a Syracuse University law professor and former assistant to the U.S. attorney general who spent 13 years as a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh.

That opinion was shared by others who saw the recording of Frank DeLuca being punched again and again while appearing to be defenseless ... 

Read the full article.