New surveillance video of a bar brawl between the Pagans and undercover cops has been released, which the bikers say proves that the detectives guzzled booze and instigated the fight.
Lawyers for the bikers on Tuesday released the footage, which depicts the violent brawl between Pagans and cops in Kopy’s Bar on the South Side of Pittsburgh early on October 12.
Bikers Frank Deluca, 36, Michael Zokaites, 38, Erik Heitzenrater, 28, and Bruce Thomas, 61, were charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and riot as a result of the fight.
The new video shows Deluca being pummeled in the face by cops – and his mugshot shows the bruised and bloody result.
Lawyers for the bikers say that the surveillance footage also reveals that the undercover detectives arrived at the bar at 7.30pm on October 11 and began downing drinks – all while they claimed to be investigating suspected drug activity at the bar.
Martin A. Dietz, a lawyer for Heitzenrater, told the Post-Gazette that he reviewed the entire surveillance tape, and saw some detectives drinking 13 to 15 drinks over the course of the night: doubles and triples on the rocks.
The undercover squad was allegedly well marinated by the time the Pagans arrived in the bar around 11.40pm, where the video shows that they went to a back room and began shooting pool without talking to the detectives, attorney’s said.
Once the Pagans entered, the cops apparently took interest upon noticing the club lettering on their jackets.
‘There is a view [on the surveillance videos] of one of the detectives who is sort of leaning back and notices the writing on the back of a jacket, and the officers’ entire demeanor changed at that time,’ Lee Rothman, who represents Deluca, told the newspaper.
The cops are seen approaching the bikers – but there is no audio on the surveillance video, and accounts differ as to what was said.
The police said in a criminal complaint that they believed their cover had been blown, and simply approached the bikers to ensure them that they ‘weren’t there to infringe on anyone’s good time.’
The bikers say the undercover detectives began slinging insults at them, including comments ‘about who they are and why they exist and things of that nature,’ said Rothman.
The video shows Detective David Honick lifting his shirt and flashing an object in his waistband, which appears to be a handgun.
Deluca then approaches Detective Honick and tries to shake his hand, and the detective initially refuses before eventually shaking.
More words are exchanged and the conversation appears to grow heated before Deluca shoves Honick, beginning the brawl.
Previously released cellphone footage from inside the bar showed an officer yelling: ‘I’m a f**king cop’ as he shoved one of the men to the ground.
‘What the f**k is wrong with you. You’re a f**king b**ch’. Roll over,’ the officer screamed.
Rothman says that Deluca was not aware that the undercover detectives were cops, and had simply warned them to get out of the bar to avoid trouble.
The video shows police restraining Deluca against the bar and pummeling him 19 times in the face.
Deluca’s mugshot showed him bruised and bloodied following the brawl.
Deluca was legally carrying a gun, and police say he had made a motion toward his waistband, but his hands were pinned on top of the bar as he was struck in the face.
‘Our clients are minding their own business at the bar trying to ignore them. The officers are repeatedly going over, tapping them, touching them, trying to engage them,’ attorney Wendy Williams told KDKA.
‘The main aggressor in this incident is seen drinking a fifth and a half of Jack Daniels in shots over the course of four to five hours,’ said Williams.
Pittsburgh’s district attorney and the Citizen Police Review Board are both looking into the incident.
‘Being undercover doesn’t mean you can just be a ruffian,’ Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board, told the Post-Gazette. ‘It’s not a license to just start a bar fight and then say, ‘I’m a cop.”
Source Daily news