Officer facing criminal charges over rough arrest now sued

AP News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2016 2:05 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A fired Pittsburgh police sergeant criminally charged with wrongly beating up a drunken high school football fan and then trying to cover it up now also is being sued, along with the city.

Attorneys for 20-year-old football fan Gabriel Despres (deh-PRAY') filed the federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday against 47-year-old former officer Stephen Matakovich (mah-TAK'-oh-vich).

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for false arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution. It also alleges the city knew of the sergeant's propensity to use unnecessary force and past efforts to cover it up before he pushed and punched Despres at a November 2015 championship game at Heinz Field.

Matakovich has said Despres appeared ready to attack. But surveillance video showed him with his hands at his sides and not acting aggressively as Matakovich claimed.

The city hasn't commented.