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Pa. Chief Held Without Bail After Cover-up Charges

Pa. Chief Held Without Bail After Cover-up Charges

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The AP via YellowBrix

December 17, 2009

At the hearing, a federal prosecutor alleged that Nestor had driven a cooperating witness in the extortion investigation to an isolated area and ordered him to strip before returning him unharmed to his home.

The officers pleaded not guilty, and the others were released to home confinement. The arrests leave the borough of 5,000 with three active-duty police officers.

A third federal indictment charges Brandon Piekarsky, 18, and Derrick Donchak, 19, with a hate crime in connection with the July 2008 attack on Ramirez, 25, an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

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Early in the Ramirez investigation, Schuylkill County prosecutors determined that they had a serious problem with the Shenandoah police, District Attorney James Goodman said yesterday, adding that he asked the Justice Department to investigate the force.

In the civil lawsuit, court documents allege that Gennarini and Capt. Raymond Nestor – the chief’s father – arrested David Vega at his home shortly before 8:55 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2004, while responding to a report of a domestic dispute.

“While in police custody . . . Vega was beaten to death and then hung from the bars of a holding cell to make it appear as if he had committed suicide,” the lawsuit said. Vega, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was pronounced dead at 10:50 p.m.

Karoly said the coroner accepted Chief Nestor’s explanation that Vega’s bruises had come as he resisted arrest. An autopsy arranged by the family confirmed Vega “suffered extensive, massive injuries consistent with a profound beating. . . . The defendant did not die of hanging,” the suit said.

Chief Nestor’s attorney insists otherwise, writing in court papers: “The only credible independent evidence to date establishes that David Vega committed suicide.”

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