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DA Zappala: 'I Got A Problem With Kicking Somebody In The Head’

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala at a press conference on March 29, 2017. Zappala said he is considering filing charges against a police officer accused of kicking a man in the head during an arrest.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he’s considering filing charges against Pittsburgh Police officer Raymond Toomey in connection with a violent arrest Sunday outside The Flats bar on Carson Street in the South Side.

A bystander posted a 10-second video clip to Twitter that allegedly showed Toomey kicking Nathan Stanley III, 26, while he was on the ground during an arrest. Zappala said he also viewed video from a camera at the bar.


“I got a problem with this and I understand that, on occasion, an officer needs to use blows to induce pain so that someone complies with a lawful arrest,” Zappala said. “I got a problem with kicking somebody in the head.”

Zappala said he met Wednesday with Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich and Police Chief Scott Schubert.  

According to Zappala, some bar patrons said that Stanley talked about “having a gun, shooting people, shooting police officers.”

Toomey wrote in his arrest report that he feared that Stanley was reaching for a gun while he was on the ground.

“[If] the officer felt he was in danger and [Stanley] was going for an area which could conceal a gun, then all bets are off the table,” Zappala said. “But I don't see that in the 10-second video. I don't see his hands anywhere near his waist. It’s not as clear in the video from the bar.”

The district attorney said he plans to talk with a use-of-force expert “outside the city” before making a decision whether to file charges.

The Office Of Municipal Investigations and the Citizens Police Review Board are also investigating the incident.  

Stanley, who was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, public intoxication and disorderly conduct, is free on bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
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