Judge recommends dismissal of suit against Uniontown officers

May 29, 2008

PITTSBURGH — A federal judge has recommended the approval of a summary judgment and dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the city of Uniontown and three city police officers.
In 2006, Russell Brooks filed the suit claiming Uniontown officers Donald M. Gmitter, Jonathan Grabiak and Michael Garrow Sr. pursued a false charge against him for an alleged threat he made during a call to Fayette County 911.
On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan recommended approval of a motion by the city and Uniontown police following a review of the case.
According to court records, the suit was filed after an incident at Brooks home on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2004.
See Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard for more information.


Charges pending after police uncover filthy home

May 29, 2008

Uniontown police said charges are pending against a city couple after police found their children living in deplorable conditions at their Nutt Avenue apartment.
Officer Michael C. Garrow Sr. said police responded to the residence around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday after receiving reports that three children were not being properly cared for.
Garrow said he and Sgt. Wayne Brown entered the residence and found dog feces and rubbish scattered throughout the apartment as well as an infestation of cockroaches.
See Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard for additional information.


Police seek suspect in high speed chase in Uniontown

May 28, 2008

Uniontown police are trying to identify the driver of a sport-utility-vehicle involved in a high-speed pursuit in Uniontown Monday.
Officer Ray Miller said the chase occurred around 12:10 a.m. when he spotted the vehicle speeding on South Gallatin Avenue. Miller said the vehicle was also driving erratically and appeared to be trying to avoid police.
Miller said he activated his lights and siren in an attempt to pull the vehicle over but a chase ensued on several city streets at a high rate of speed.
For more details, read Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard.


Smoke causes Uniontown City Hall evacuation

May 28, 2008

Uniontown City Hall was evacuated for about 25 minutes Wednesday morning after a fire in an air conditioning unit filled the building with smoke.
About a dozen people who had been working in the building gathered outside shortly before 9 a.m. as firefighters swept through the structure.
After ensuring that the building was not on fire, firefighters set up fans to try and ventilate the thick smoke accumulating inside the structure.
See Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard for more information.


Hearing continued for man charged in drug case

May 27, 2008

Two preliminary hearings were continued today for a Uniontown man accused of assault and possession of drugs with intent to deliver in two separate cases from last year.
Uniontown police Detective Donald M. Gmitter and Fayette County Detective Lawrence Curry extradited Alfonso Pugh, 21, last week from the Stark County Prison in Ohio to Fayette County for arraignment on two warrants.
Gmitter said Pugh was charged May 21 before Magisterial District Judge Randy S. Abraham for charges related to a domestic violence case as well as multiple felony charges stemming from the drug case.
Abraham set bond at $25,000 straight cash in each case, Gmitter said.
Pugh remains the Fayette County Prison to await preliminary hearings.


Uniontown woman apprehended in armed robbery

May 27, 2008

A Uniontown woman accused of robbing the Sheetz service station at gunpoint in South Union Township this morning was arrested by Uniontown police about an hour after the robbery occurred.
State police said Pepsi Raiet Gaines, 28, was subsequently charged before Magisterial District Judge Joseph M. George Jr. with robbery, recklessly endangering another person and theft following the robbery, which occurred at 3:04 a.m.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Timothy C. Knapp, the incident occurred when Gaines, wearing a bandana over her face, entered the store, grabbed Sheetz employee Arlene Bagley and held a semi-automatic pistol to her head.
See Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s edition of the Herald-Standard for more information.


Hearing continued for Uniontown man

May 27, 2008

A preliminary hearing was continued today for a Uniontown man charged with attempted homicide and several other charges in two incidents that occurred in Uniontown last year.
Glenn Michael Shuford Jr. is charged with two counts each of criminal attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person as well as single counts of terroristic threats and carrying a firearm without a license in two shooting incidents that occurred in July.
Shuford is also charged with simple assault, harassment and terroristic threats following an altercation with his former paramour in September.
The hearing has been rescheduled for June 24 in Uniontown.


Federal judge stayed $1.1 million attorney fee payment

May 23, 2008

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has stayed the payment of $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees to the lawyers who represented the father of a 12-year-old Uniontown boy shot in 2002 by state police.
U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti issued the order staying the payment on Thursday because an appeal of the $28 million verdict awarded to Michael Hickenbottom is under appeal.
Hickenbottom’s son, Michael Ellerbe, was shot and killed by state police as he fled from them on Dec. 24, 2002. Earlier this year, a civil jury found that Cpl. Juan Curry and Trooper Samuel Nassan used excessive force when Nassan shot Ellerbe in Uniontown’s East End.
Ellerbe was fleeing from a stolen sport utility vehicle, and police said he ignored repeated requests to take his hand from his pocket, leading them to believe he may have a weapon.
Curry testified the he tried to jump over a fence to continue chasing Ellerbe, and his gun caught on the top and discharged. The shot, combined with Curry falling over the fence, led Nassan to believe that Ellerbe had shot Curry.
Nassan fired a single shot that killed Ellerbe.
Hickenbottom’s attorneys, however, argued that police covered up what really happened, and sought to protect the men.
The verdict is currently under appeal to Conti.
Attorney Andrew Fletcher, who represented Curry and Nassan at trial, has argued that despite Conti dismissing a cover-up claim, attorney Geoffrey Fieger argued it anyway. Fieger and three other lawyers asked Conti to award them payment for the thousands of hours spent on the case, as well as for other expenses, like transportation and expert witnesses.

For more information, see Jennifer Harr’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard.


Dog shot in Uniontown

May 23, 2008

Uniontown police said they are investigating an incident in which a dog was shot at a home in Uniontown.
Uniontown Detective Donald M. Gmitter said the incident occurred around 11 p.m. Wednesday night when the animal’s owners heard what they thought were two gunshots near their East End home.
Initially, the Uniontown residents, who have not been identified by police, told officers that they did not think anything of the shots, Gmitter said.
However, Thursday morning, Gmitter said they found the animal bleeding and limping with a serious gunshot wound to one if its legs.
For more information, see Josh Krysak’s story in tomorrow’s Herald-Standard.


Wanted man found incarcerated in Ohio

May 23, 2008

Uniontown police served multiple warrants on a Uniontown man after he was discovered incarcerated in Ohio.
Uniontown police Detective Donald M. Gmitter said he and Fayette County Detective Lawrence Curry extradited Alfonso Pugh, 21, from the Stark County Prison in Ohio to Fayette County for arraignment on two warrants.
Gmitter said Pugh was charged Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge Randy S. Abraham for charges related to a domestic violence case as well as multiple felony charges stemming from a drug case.
Bond was set at $25,000 straight cash in each case, Gmitter said.
Pugh was subsequently placed in the Fayette County Prison to await preliminary hearings scheduled for Tuesday in Uniontown.


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