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Mt. Carmel Police Officers Indicted for Kicking, Punching, Choking Detainees

One current and two former officers charged

Three police officers from Mount Carmel Borough have been indicted on charges of brutality.

The accused, former Lieutenant David Donkochik, 51, former Patrol Officer Jonathan McHugh, 35, and Patrol Officer Kyle Schauer, 34, are now under scrutiny for alleged civil rights violations. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania made the announcement yesterday following the indictment by a federal grand jury.

According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the indictment alleges a systematic and brutal violation of civil rights spanning from 2018 to 2021. The officers reportedly abused their authority in 22 separate arrests, employing excessive and violent methods such as kicking, punching, and choking those under their custody, causing physical injuries.

The indictment further charges the officers with deliberate manipulation of police camera footage to avoid incrimination, destruction of any compromising video evidence, and falsification of arrest reports. To veil their use of excessive force, the accused allegedly made false allegations of aggravated assault and resisting arrest against the detainees. Threats of further violence were reportedly used to intimidate arrestees.

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“These defendants violated the civil rights of numerous individuals in their community over an extended period, thereby betraying the significant public trust placed in them,” stated U.S. Attorney Karam. He assured that the indictment symbolizes the unwavering commitment of his office to hold accountable those who misuse their official positions.

Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, emphasized that officers who abuse their powers and violate civil rights will be held accountable. She pledged that the FBI, together with its partners, is committed to serving justice to those who flagrantly betray public trust.

The indictment follows an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Public Corruption Task Force. Acknowledging the challenging nature of such investigations, Captain James Cuttitta of the Special Investigations Division commended the task force’s efforts and thanked various county service agencies, fellow law enforcement departments, and local residents for their cooperation.

If found guilty, the indicted officers could face a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment under federal law, in addition to a term of supervised release and a fine. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carlo Marchioli and Michael Consiglio are spearheading the prosecution.

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