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Pa. Chief Held Without Bail After Cover-up Charges

Pa. Chief Held Without Bail After Cover-up Charges

(Stock Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 17, 2009

SHENANDOAH, Pa. – A police chief, ordered held without bail yesterday on charges that he tried to cover up the fatal 2008 beating of a Mexican immigrant by white teenagers, was named in a 2006 lawsuit that said police had beaten to death a Hispanic teenager, then made it look like a suicide.

Police Chief Matthew Nestor, 33, was not charged in the teenager’s death in November 2004, but the allegations in the lawsuit, in Tuesday’s indictment, and in other civil claims depict a police department with hostility to minorities and a penchant for using excessive force.

Police “acted as feudal warlords in this coal town community that people were afraid of,” said John Karoly, attorney for the parents of David Vega, 18, in the 2006 federal lawsuit against the borough. “I would not suggest they were not abusive to everyone and anyone, but I would say the pattern certainly starts to appear that minorities took the thrust of their abuse.”

The suit names Nestor, Capt. Jamie Gennarini, and the Borough of Shenandoah as defendants. The officers have denied wrongdoing. A civil trial is scheduled for the summer.

Nestor, Lt. William Moyer, and Officer Jason Hayes were charged Tuesday with orchestrating a cover-up as the FBI investigated the fatal attack on Luis Ramirez by a group of high school football players. Hayes dated the mother of one of the accused players, and Moyer’s son played on the football team, according to the indictment.

Gennarini and Nestor were indicted separately in a scheme to extort money from illegal gambling operations.

Yesterday, Nestor was ordered held until trial at a bail hearing in Wilkes-Barre. Judge Malachy Mannion called him “clearly, unequivocally a serious danger to witnesses in this case.”

  • Nys_omh_police_max160_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Just goes to show That no one is above the law!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    This article is very disturbing. However, as a citizen who loves LEOs and believes that most of you have honor and integrity, I am highly encouraged by your comments and insights. I noticed a big shift in the last 25 years toward enlightened, responsible, responsive behavior by law enforcement that takes the majority to a moral high ground we can all hope to emulate. While I'm sorry about the situation in the article, I am ever so proud of the rest of you.

  • Parkside_crest_new_12-15-08_copy_max50


    over 4 years ago


    K9Hammer and fcpd3504 have said it all. I work in PA, and it is what it is... Nothing is going to change until Politics get out of the way of Law Enforcement.

  • Tecj_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Reading about happenings like this makes me forget that we are heading into 2010...some of us have come so far, while others have obviously clung to the past. The extortion is one thing, but for the life of a human to mean so little to these officers who swore to "Serve and Protect" (or what have you)...well that thought makes me sick.

  • Mandy_and_me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    K9Hammer hit the nail on the head. These small PD's are liability waiting to happen. Let me break it down for the non PA folks. You have a county, in the county you have 50 townships and boroughs. Each township and borough wants there own PD then that county has 50 seperate police departments...all with different training equipment procedures and hiring standards. Some may be larger agencies with maybe 20 or so officers but most are 2-3 man departments. They are all act 120 (PA police academy) certified HOWEVER there is little or no inservice and there is a mentallity of we don't need any fancy training in our town. Why cant PA see how inefficent this is I don't know but you add it all up and its trouble waiting to happen. Most of these agencies don't even have an FTI program they just put officers right on the street straight from the academy. For those saying we judge without having the facts I have enough facts from working in PA as an LEO to know these are the FACTS. Dont get me wrong alot of them are doing what needs to be done and there are alot of Great officers in PA but its still more then just issues like Shenandoah.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    If what is being said by some of you is true, that this is just the way things are done in small town Pa. or in the state as a whole, then just maybe the State, County and Local agencies need some Federal oversight and a shake up from the top down. In this day and age, in Pa. or any where else, there is absolutely no room for this way of doing things anymore.

  • Helmet_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Just how old should a chief be?? age isnt a factor here, its lack of ethics and morals. I have been in law enforcement for 17 yrs, with four as a chief and I am 39, I was selected as chief at 35. this guy has always been an AH and his age isnt the issue.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    That is coal mine country folks. Lucky they even had a body to find. Lots of stuff goes on up there without anyone knowing about it. I worked in that county for a few years and did some UC work. It was hard for a white guy to sneak in and not get in trouble. Very suspicious of anyone or anything not normal to their town. Did you notice the 6 man department had a Chief, a Captain and a Lieutenant. Hmmmmmmmmm welcome to PA.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    The very first thing that I thought as I attempted to objectively read this article was, "A 33 Year Old Police Chief?..... WOW!!!!! How does this happen? Super Cop with a lot of experience, education and training? HMMMM, I seriously doubt it at that age." Then I read that his father was a Captain.

    I would sure like to see the qualifications of these people as well as the Pa. Police Officer Standards {and} Training (P.O.S.T.) that they are required (or at least should be) to have to obtain rank. Sounds like there is a whole lot of trouble in River City. If the charges hold up, it looks like things will get much worse in the area before it gets any better.

  • Au_max50


    over 4 years ago


    was it worth it?? thanks for nothing.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Welcome to PA folks. This is how things go here. PA has the most police departments that any other state. the fact of the matter is that the state WILL NOT allow county sheriffs to be the primary law enforcement agency. they also have so many 1 man and 2 man departments in po-dunk areas. this community is very small and things are done differently here. PA is so far behind in the times that its not funny and you can't tell the legislature anything cause they know it all. its a sad state of affairs. there are many departments with very young chiefs and chiefs that have so little experience its not funny!

  • Daddy___travis_sq90_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What a cover up,no comment

  • Img00039_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I too hope they do any appropriate time..I still feel worse for all the good guys, and Gals, who will continue to pay for these (*&^&*()$%^&*I long after this mess is cleared up.. The public never forgets the bad, they rarely remember the good

  • Red_betty_91407_005_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It is ass hats like these that give the rest of us a bad rap. If all of it is true I hope these jerks rot in jail. We are not above the law. No one is. This just makes me sick.

  • 450312-r1-12-12_013_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Hey I don't have any experience asa LEO maybe I could become the chief of police in PA, couldn't screw it up any worse than these clowns.

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