The FBI and the Allegheny County district attorney's office are each investigating the use of a stun gun Sept. 21 by Millvale police on a man who was handcuffed and in police custody.
"We were assessing the situation, and now it's developed into a full investigation," FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba said Wednesday.
The federal investigation is seeking to determine whether the stun gun incident violated the civil rights of the man in custody, Thomas Jason Smith, 27, of Millvale. The district attorney's office is seeking to determine whether any crimes were committed in the incident.
Millvale police also have instituted an internal investigation to determine whether police department policies or procedures were violated by Officer Nicole Murphy, who was identified in court documents as using the stun gun on Mr. Smith. She has been disciplined for the incident but remains employed full time with the borough.
Millvale police had arrested Mr. Smith on Sept. 21, charging him with a felony count of aggravated harassment by a prisoner; a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest; and two summary offenses, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
A criminal complaint by Officer Murphy said she used the stun gun after Mr. Smith "became violent, hitting his head off of the jail cell wall" and then "tried to go after and spit on" an officer.neigh_north