Police sergeant charged with assault is fired

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The city today fired Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Eugene Hlavac following an internal investigation after an incident in which he was charged with aggravated assault for dislocating the jaw of his former girlfriend, and the mayor announced that he wants to expand the city's zero-tolerance domestic-abuse policy to all employees.

Sgt. Hlavac was suspended following his arrest and police conducted internal OMI investigation. Sgt. Hlavac was also given the opportunity to explain the incident to Public Safety Director Michael Huss.

"Our zero-tolerance domestic abuse policy has worked to protect the public from those who are placed in positions of trust, and abuse that trust," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

The Fraternal Order of Police said it will challenge the firing in arbitration.

"In our country, we stand on the premise that we're innocent until found guilty, and the criminal case has not yet been decided," said FOP President Dan O'Hara. When the court case has concluded, if he's found not guilty, "we will of course try to restore him to his job," Officer O'Hara said. "He'll be entitled to full back pay."

If Mr. Hlavac is found guilty of simple assault, the charge he currently faces, he will be stripped of his state certification to serve as a police officer, Officer O'Hara said. If he is convicted of a crime of mutual combat, a third-degree misdemeanor, he could still continue to serve as a police officer.

"If he's found guilty of mutual combat, odds are he could receive his job back," Mr. O'Hara said.

The mayor said he will introduce an ordinance Friday that expands the zero-tolerance domestic-abuse policy to all city employees.


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