Off-duty police officer indicted in death of man he allegedly pushed at a shooting scene #Offduty #police #officer #indicted #death #man #allegedly #pushed #shooting #scene

MONACA, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania police officer has been indicted on involuntary manslaughter and other charges after prosecutors say he pushed and fatally injured a man at a shooting scene.

The state Attorney General’s Office announced the indictment Wednesday against John J. Hawk, 37, who served with the Center Township police department. Hawk also faces counts of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and perjury stemming from the November 2022 confrontation in the borough of Monaca.

The 48-year-old victim, Kenneth Vinyard, was a bystander who approached an officer about potential evidence he wanted to provide to police, prosecutors said. Hawk, who was off duty and wearing casual clothing, confronted Vinyard and pulled him away from the officer.

Hawk did not announce himself as an officer or display law enforcement credentials, prosecutors said, and was not heard or seen announcing that Vinyard was under arrest. A short time later, Hawk struck Vinyard in the chest while performing a leg-sweep maneuver, which knocked him to the ground, where Vinyard struck his head on the pavement, prosecutors said.

Vinyard was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. An autopsy determined that the blunt force trauma and accompanying stress inflicted by Hawk contributed to Vinyard’s death, prosecutors said.

The subsequent investigation revealed that Vinyard was compliant with orders to back away from the investigating officer, was not aggressive and did not pose a physical threat to Hawk or anyone else, prosecutors said. They also said Hawk was untruthful while testifying about the incident before the state grand jury that indicted him.

Hawk turned himself in Wednesday and a judge later set his bail at $200,000. It was not known if he has an attorney. The attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email or voicemail seeking further information.


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