Ex-Pa. officer wants freedom while appealing conviction

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A former Pittsburgh police sergeant convicted of violating the civil rights of a drunken teenager in an assault at a high-school football game is asking to stay out of jail during his appeal.

Stephen Matakovich, 48, filed the request earlier this week. He was sentenced last month to two years in prison.

Authorities say Matakovich twice pushed and then punched 19-year-old Gabriel Despres in 2015 at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pitt Panthers.

In his request, Matakovich argues Despres acknowledged the officer wasn’t trying to hurt him. The filing points to video that allegedly shows Despres joking about his arrest and mocking Matakovich’s blows as weak.

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