Tuesday, June 18, 2024
68.3 F
Beaver
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
68.3 F
Beaver

Grand Jury Presentment Details Case Against Center Twp. Officer

An Industry man was not acting aggressively or resisting commands seconds before an off-duty Center Township police officer sent the man crashing to the ground and striking his head on asphalt, leading to the man’s death, according to a grand jury presentment obtained exclusively by BeaverCountian.com.

Officer John Hawk was charged last month by the state Attorney General’s Office with charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and perjury, for the Nov. 2, 2022, death of Kenneth Vinyard, 42, at the scene of a shooting at the Center Township Walmart.

Hawk remains free on $200,000 unsecured bond while awaiting a preliminary hearing on the charges. His attorney, Stephen Colafella, declined comment on the presentment.

The grand jury said that “Hawk’s use of force was not legally justified, and that video footage showed there was “no interaction between Hawk and Vinyard at the time of the assault.”

Hawk also lied to a fellow officer at the scene, telling him that Vinyard fell over, and didn’t follow police department policy by failing to notify the officer-in-charge of the scene or the police chief what occurred, according to the presentment, and didn’t fill out a use-of-force form.

While testifying before the grand jury, Hawk said he felt physical force was warranted in subduing Vinyard, adding that he felt Vinyard was interfering in the shooting investigation. He also insisted that he identified himself as a police officer at the scene, despite multiple witness testifying he did not, and video recordings do not show him identifying himself, according to the presentment.

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Bill Vidonic
Bill Vidonic
Bill Vidonic is a veteran cops & courts reporter whose award-winning journalism has been featured in major publications throughout the region.

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