Small-town Pennsylvania officers kicked, punched and choked arrestees, indictment alleges

Jun 16, 2023, 12:28 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. (AP) — Three small-town Pennsylvania police officers collectively “kicked, punched, choked and otherwise used excessive force” in 22 arrests over a three-year period, according to a federal indictment unveiled Friday.

The U.S. attorney’s office accused Mount Carmel Borough Police Patrol Officer Kyle Schauer, 34, and two other former officers, former Lt. David Donkochik, 51, and Jonathan McHugh, 35, of violating civil rights in attacks between 2018 and 2021 that caused injuries. They were indicted Thursday.

McHugh’s lawyer said Friday that he was new to the case and unable to comment. The court-appointed lawyer listed for Donkochik said he was only on the case for his initial appearance. A message was left at the office of the lawyer listed as representing Schauer. A phone message seeking comment was also left for Mount Carmel’s current chief, Chris Buhay.

The indictment accuses the three men of trying to hide their alleged crimes by avoiding cameras and lying about the victims.

Grand jurors wrote that the three “falsely reported that arrestees acted in a manner requiring violence and then falsely charged arrestees with criminal offenses,” including aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

Schauer is accused of pushing a man down a flight of stairs five years ago, injuring him. Donkochik was accused of using pepper spray against a man as well as punching, kicking and dragging him. McHugh, according to the indictment, punched a man in the face and “threw him against walls,” and slammed a woman’s head against a wall.

Mount Carmel is a town of about 6,000 people 110 miles (177 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia, in what was once a thriving coal mining region.

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Small-town Pennsylvania officers kicked, punched and choked arrestees, indictment alleges