Wilmerding man sues city over officer-involved shooting

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A Wilmerding man who is serving a prison sentence in relation to a 2012 encounter with Pittsburgh police sued the city today, alleging that excessive force was used in his arrest.

Monte D. Blair, 41, sued city, former police Chief Nate Harper, acting Chief Regina McDonald, Detective Scott Evans and officers Christopher Kertis and Andrew Baker in U.S. District Court.

According to the complaint filed by attorney Jenee Oliver, on Sept. 9, 2012, Officer Kertis and Officer Baker heard shots fired while working in Homewood.

Mr. Blair was leaving a banquet hall called The Purple Room, and began to slowly drive away, when "Officer Baker opens his door and open fires on the vehicle," according to the complaint. "At the same time, Officer Kertis exits the driver side of the van, walks to the back of the police van and begins to fire upon the vehicle from the rear of the police van."

The officers, according to Mr. Blair's complaint, alleged that he tried to ram their van with his car and fired on them. Bank surveillance video disproved that, according to the complaint.

Mr. Blair was severely injured, and required multiple surgeries, according to the complaint. It argued that the shooting constituted excessive force, and demanded damages, including punitive damages.

Blair was found guilty in April of aggravated assault and other charges, and sentenced to five and a half to 11 years in prison. He was found not guilty of attempted homicide and assault of a law enforcement officer.

A city spokesman said the city will review the lawsuit.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.


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