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Identity & Community

Fired Pittsburgh Sergeant On Stand In Civil Rights Trial

AP122213740367.jpg
Gene J. Puskar
/
AP
Sgt. Stephen Matakovich is accused of attacking 19-year-old Gabriel Despres during a high school football championship at Heinz Field in 2015.

A fired Pittsburgh police sergeant is set to continue testifying in his civil rights trial on charges he wrongly beat a drunken man and then lied about it in a report.

Former Sgt. Stephen Matakovich testified Wednesday that he thought 19-year-old Gabriel Despres was preparing to attack him and that he struck Despres to prevent that.

But federal prosecutors say a surveillance video of the incident doesn't support Matakovich, who is charged with deprivation of civil rights and falsification of a document.

Video of the incident at high school football championship game at Heinz Field in 2015 shows Despres with his hands at his sides and not advancing when he was pushed down and struck by Matakovich.

The trial is expected to end later this week.

Matakovich was to continue testifying Thursday.