Pa. Chief Held Without Bail After Cover-up Charges
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.”