A bar fight earlier this month between members of the Pagans motorcycle club and undercover police is now drawing interest from federal prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the owner of the Pittsburgh bar where the brawl occurred seems to be backing the Pagans’ version of events, as four club members face criminal charges.
As KDKA in Pittsburgh reports, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala met with U.S. Attorney Scott Brady to discuss a possible federal probe into the incident, but neither the DA nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office would commit to one.
The move comes as a new bar surveillance video of the fight has come to light.
KDKA says the video shows Pagans member Frank DeLuca being pinned in place against the bar while an undercover Pittsburgh officer repeatedly punches him in the head.
“After his hair was being pulled back and his neck was being pinched, (DeLuca was punched) over 23 times in the face and head,” defense attorney Lee Rothman tells KDKA.
DeLuca and three other members of the motorcycle gang were charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and riot. But Rothman argued it is the undercover police who should be charged. The Pagans’ attorneys say the officers were drunk, brandished firearms and provoked the entire confrontation.
“The main aggressor in this incident is seen drinking a fifth-and-a-half of Jack Daniels in shots over the course of four or five hours,” another defense attorney, Wendy Williams, told KDKA.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the bar owner, Stephen Kopy, 50, said in a sworn statement taken in the ongoing investigation that the undercover Pittsburgh officers told him they were construction workers and all four detectives drank throughout the night of Oct. 11 until the fight broke out after midnight.
Kopy, owner of Kopy’s Bar on South 12th Street in Pittsburgh’s South Side, provided the statement to the city’s Citizen Police Review Board, which is also reviewing the incident.
From the Post-Gazette:
Kopy wrote that after six members of the Pagans motorcycle club entered the bar about 11:30 p.m., the four detectives — Brian Burgunder, David Honick, Brian Martin and David Lincoln — told him they had issues with the bikers
About 12:20 a.m., Detective Honick finally told Kopy that they were undercover officers, according to his statement.
“He told me that he liked me and did not want to see anything happen to my bar,” Kopy wrote. “He further stated that the situation in relation to the Bikers was dangerous and that I did not realize what was going on.”
Detective Honick told Kopy that the bikers were staring and pointing at the officers, an allegation that Detective Burgunder later included in a criminal complaint.
“At no time did I personally witness the Biker[s] staring or pointing at the undercover officers,” Kopy wrote. “I stated that [Honick] was wrong and that the Bikers were finishing their drinks and getting ready to leave. In fact two of the six Bikers had already left the establishment at that point. I asked them to ignore the Bikers and explained that the Bikers would be gone in a few minutes.”
Alas that didn’t happen and the fight broke out soon after.
The investigation into the incident continues.
Source Penn Live