Cops Battle Cops At Concert
Two off-duty Pittsburgh detectives turned on their own kind at a Toby Keith concert at the Post-Gazette Pavilion and started a brawl with Hanover Township officers working at the venue August 18th.
Pittsburgh Detectives Patrick Michael Moffatt of the homicide squad and Joseph Mark Simunovic, of the sex assault/family crisis division, were charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Moffatt, who is the son of Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt and whose sister, Bridget Moffatt, was also involved in the altercation, was additionally charged with obstruction of the administration of law. Simunovic was charged with additional aggravated and simple assault charges.
"We expect our officers, even when off duty, to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper, who reported that the duo had no record of previous disciplinary problems.
After Hanover officers came to check out a disturbance in the parking lot of the 23,085-capacity venue following the show, "The defendants became very hostile and began to ridicule the on-scene officers and said they did not have to listen to the officers," according to an affidavit filed in Washington County.
Five Hanover police officers responded to the disturbance at 12:30 a.m. and the defendants started poking fun at the officers when they identified themselves as police, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
The affidavit notes that Simunovic moved toward a Hanover police officer in an attempt to assault him and said "I will show you something," according to the Post-Gazette.
He wasn’t having any of that and pinned Simunovic to a vehicle to arrest him. Meanwhile, Moffatt charged, tackled and choked another Hanover officer. That officer broke free of the chokehold and another officer was able to grab and restrain Moffatt.
The fight wasn’t over, as Sean Patrick Foley, who was with the Pittsburgh detectives, threw punches at another officer’s face. And Bridget Moffatt got in the mix and was charged with trying to disarm a law enforcement officer when she reached across Officer Sean Conn’s back and placed "her hands on his duty weapon and waist area."
The two detectives have a preliminary hearing in Washington County set for August 29th and the police chief said Internal Affairs will investigate the incident, according to the paper.
For the time being, the detectives have been reassigned to uniformed street duty pending the outcome of their cases.
A previous police mix-up at a Toby Keith concert at the shed transpired in 2003, when Joseph Trone, a captain with the Aliquippa Fire Department, said he was assaulted by a police officer while waiting for the singer’s entourage to exit the stage. Officers charged Trone with disorderly conduct, which was dismissed, and Trone settled a lawsuit with the township for $180,000.