Trial date set for suspended Millvale officer accused in Taser incident

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A federal judge today set a Nov. 17 trial date in the civil rights indictment brought against a suspended Millvale police officer accused of violating a man's civil rights by shocking him with a Taser while he was handcuffed.

U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab set the date following a status conference this morning in the case against Nicole Murphy, of Shaler.

Ms. Murphy is accused of using her Taser on drunken arrestee Thomas Jason James Smith after, while handcuffed and kneeling, he banged his head repeatedly against a desk. The September 2012 incident was captured on video. Ms. Murphy's attorney, Robert Stewart, has said that she shocked him to keep him from further injuring himself.

Ms. Murphy is charged with depriving another of civil rights and is free on $25,000 unsecured bond. She was taken off active duty after charges were filed. Her name has been removed from Millvale's online list of officers, but no one was immediately available at the department to clarify her employment status.

Assistant U.S. attorney Carolyn J. Bloch and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division attorney Cindy K. Chung are prosecuting the case.

Millvale paid $37,500 to resolve Mr. Smith’s related lawsuit against the borough and the officer.

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



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