Probation for constables who dragged cuffed woman by legs
Dec. 23, 2015
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two constables who handcuffed a woman and dragged her out of her home by her legs over an unpaid parking ticket have been sentenced to probation by a judge who said she considered jailing them because of their lack of remorse.
Allegheny County Judge Beth Lazzara on Tuesday sentenced Christian Constantini, 27, to three years of probation and Michael Lowman, 46, to four years of supervision. The judge had convicted the men of simple assault, reckless endangerment, official oppression and conspiracy and was upset that they didn't apologize.
"There's a part of me that thinks you should be placed in handcuffs and taken immediately to the Allegheny County Jail," Lazzara said. "Any remorse you've expressed seems to be only remorse for yourself."
Both men said they'll appeal their convictions and sentences, and they've been trying to keep working as constables despite their convictions.
Lowman filed documents seeking to be reappointed to his job as a constable in Pittsburgh, but President Judge Jeffrey Manning barred that at the request of prosecutors on Tuesday. Constantini had worked as a deputy constable but ran for an elected constable position after being charged and won. Assistant District Attorney John Fitzgerald said the prosecutor's office will try to prevent Constantini from working as a constable.
Fitzgerald told the judge that the October 2014 dragging incident was just one example of their hyper-aggressive behavior.
Authorities contend the constables knocked the phone out of the 53-year-old woman's hand as she called a police official relative to intervene, and they told her she was going to jail even after her adult daughter first tried to pay the debt.
"Constable Constantini grabbed the check ... crumpled it and threw it to the ground stating that they don't take checks," according to criminal complaints filed last year by the DA's office. When the daughter offered to get the money from an ATM three blocks away, the "constables ignored her and began to drag her mother out of the house by her feet."
The dragging happened in the presence of the woman's younger daughter, age 10, and her 5-year-old grandson, according to the complaints.
The constables and their attorneys had argued at trial that the arrest was lawful and grew out of a situation that got out of hand.