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NILES Bar scuffle leads to investigation



Published: Fri, November 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The deputies are both good officers, the sheriff says.

By PEGGY SINKOVICHand DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

NILES -- Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere will conduct an internal investigation into a reported bar fight in which two off-duty detectives are accused of attacking two Niles men.

Altiere said this morning that Detectives Peter Pizzulo and Anthony Leshnack were involved in a fight Saturday at the Gasoline Alley, 500 Vienna Ave.

"I'm not sure what happened, but I do want to look into this," Altiere said.

He had not talked to the deputies as of this morning.

"Since an internal investigation is going to be conducted, it's better that I don't talk to them," Altiere said.

Pizzulo and Leshnack could not be reached.

What happened: According to a Niles city police report, Leshnack told investigating officers early Saturday that he was in the Gasoline Alley with a friend shortly after midnight Nov. 10.

As he was leaving, he was jumped by three or four people, knocked to the ground, kicked and punched.

The report indicates Leshnack had marks on the side of his face.

In a separate report, Steven Tabor of Nash Street told police he was walking to Gasoline Alley after he and his friend, Paul Benedict, no age or address given, were involved in an altercation in the rear lot, when an unknown man punched him in the face.

Police talked to the man, identified as Pizzulo, who said Tabor and Benedict started the altercation. No charges have been filed.

Altiere said he was surprised by the news of Leshnack and Pizzulo being involved in a fight because both are good officers.

Reviews of Pizzulo and Leshnack's files show that both men have received numerous letters of commendation. There is no indication of previous discipline. Pizzulo started with the department in 1991 and Leshnack was hired in 1995.

Both detectives are members of the sheriff's SWAT and dive teams.




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