PITTSBURGH - A jury has reached a verdict in a civil lawsuit brought by a man who claims a Pittsburgh police officer beat him during a traffic stop.
Anthony Kenney said Officer Matthew Turko beat him while he was being arrested in 2012 on the North Side. In addition, Kenney said Officer Robert Smith didn’t intervene until he saw someone else witnessing the assault.
Turko denied the beating and said he used an arm hold to force Kenney to get out of the car.
Kenney was convicted of fleeing police and sentenced to three months of probation.
On Wednesday, the jury found both officers responsible for violating Kenney’s constitutional rights.
For distress over wrongful arrest, Kenney was awarded $5,000. He’ll also collect punitive damages of $75,000 from Turko and $25,000 from Smith.
“While I disagree with the decision, I don’t think it was warranted. I thought the damages, especially the punitive damages, were uncalled for,” Fraternal Order of Police defense attorney Brian Campbell said.
Kenney told Channel 11’s Alan Jennings that he thinks the jury sent a strong message that police brutality won’t be tolerated.
“The jury, whether I lost or not, I love them because they listened to me. The judge made me feel comfortable and she was listening to me,” Kenney said.
His attorney, Maggie Coleman, echoed the comments about brutality.
“The jury sent a really strong message that they’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior by city police officers,” Coleman said.
Kenney told Jennings he concentrated on telling nothing but the truth.
“You don’t have to prepare for anything when you’re telling the truth. All you have to do is be yourself and don’t exaggerate,” he said.
Jennings asked Channel 11’s legal analyst Phil DiLucente if this verdict could rekindle possible federal charges against the officers?
“They would have to first review the record and actually not just take the verdict for whatever it stood for, but also all the testimony,” DiLucente said.
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