FBI assessing Pittsburgh police Taser incident on South Side for civil-rights violations
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The FBI is assessing whether it should open a civil-rights investigation into a Pittsburgh police detective pulling a Taser on a man on the South Side this weekend.
"When anything attracts our attention that could potentially violate any civil rights of the public, or of anyone in the community, we assess the situation," FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba said.
Pittsburgh police Detective Frank Rende arrested 27-year-old Mark Keyser Jr., of Ross, this weekend on charges of defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness at the South Side Works on Saturday that was captured on video and posted to YouTube and other sites.
In the expletive-filled encounter, the detective tells Mr. Keyser to leave the area near the Claddagh Irish Pub. People who watched the incident and some police officers disagree over whether Mr. Keyser had walked far enough away from the bar to have sufficiently complied with the detective's orders.
Detective Rende raised a Taser to Mr. Keyser's neck -- but did not activate it -- before Mr. Keyser fell over into a plastic fence.
Mr. Keyser could not be reached for comment.
Detective Rende wrote in a criminal complaint that he thinks Mr. Keyser fell over because he was drunk.
The detective, who has a long disciplinary history with the bureau, has not commented on the incident, but has defended his track record.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl called for the detective's firing earlier this week but Detective Rende said on Tuesday that he remained on normal duty at the bureau's anti-graffiti squad and his supervisors had not contacted him except to test his Taser cartridge.
First Published March 20, 2013 11:21 am