A Western Pa. man identified only as “GC’” was beaten and tased while handcuffed by a local police officer last December, according to charges filed today in Pittsburgh federal court.
Mark E. Thom, 32, of 137 James Street in Springdale, a sergeant with the Springdale Borough Police Department, has agreed to plead guilty to violating “GC’s” civil rights according to Assistant US Attorney Margaret Philbin.
This is not the first time Thom has been charged with violating someone’s civil rights. According to a civil suit filed in Pittsburgh federal court; he, Jeremy Liotta a former Springdale police officer, Springdale Councilman Dan Copeland and others violated the civil rights of Allegheny County Police Officer Raymond Hrabos.
The suit alleges Thom pointed a gun and assaulted Hrabos. All the defendants lied in court and falsely accused Hrabos of a variety of charges, stemming from a Feb. 11, 2010 dispute, the lawsuit alleges.
Hrabos was found not guilty of all the charges. In fact, Common Pleas Judge Robert Gallo labeled the charges against Hrabos as “just insane,” before finding him not guilty on Dec. 13, 2010.
In the criminal complaint filed against Hrabos, Liotta quotes him as saying “he has been a police officer for 18 years and has never seen someone as crazy as Officer Thom and he should not be a police officer.”
According to the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers‘ Education and Training Commission, any police officer charged with a felony must be suspended pending the outcome of the case. It is unknown if Thom has been suspended.
Late last year Liotta was asked to resign from the Springdale Police Department.
Neither Thom nor Springdale Police Chief Joe Naviglia could be reached for comment.
Thom faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both according to Philbin. The Justice Department's Office of Civil Rights in Washington is also involved in Thom's case, according to Philbin.
No court date has been set.