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Suspended Whitaker officer's hearing rescheduled

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A preliminary hearing for a suspended Whitaker police officer facing perjury and other charges has been pushed back.

William Davis, 35, of Pittsburgh was expected to go before Magisterial District Judge James A. Motznik at Pittsburgh Municipal Court on Friday morning.

The hearing was rescheduled at defense attorney William Difenderfer's request. Court documents list the new hearing date as May 17 at 8:30 a.m. in front of President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.

Davis was arraigned earlier this month on charges of perjury and two counts each of false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression, and was released on non-monetary bond.

Whitaker resident Michelle Lang complained to the county district attorney's office on Dec. 4 about Davis' execution of a search warrant on July 6 at her residence at 122 Frank St. She said Davis arrested her and her son John Michael Scott Jr. at the scene and claimed he “illegally” seized her 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt. Davis took custody of Lang's juvenile son and placed him with a relative of Lang's.

After an investigation into the complaint, county district attorney's office detective Lyle Graber said Davis swore to and submitted false statements with the intent to mislead the magisterial district judge in order to obtain two search warrants on July 6.

Graber used as an example Davis' implication in the warrant application that 122 Frank St. was the location where Scott, now 21, was shot three times on March 8, 2012. He said the shooting was actually at a residence located at 224 Frank St., where Allegheny County police later seized narcotics, drug paraphernalia and a firearm.

He said Davis “omitted the street number, implying not only that the shooting took place at the target residence, but that narcotics and a firearm had been seized there.”

The detective noted Davis claimed in the search warrant affidavit that there was “a large amount of foot traffic” outside the 122 Frank St. home during police surveillance on April 30, 2012, when a report by another Whitaker officer indicated only two occasions when someone arrived at the residence and left after a short period of time.

Graber said Davis had no authorization within the search warrant to seize Lang's vehicle.

The detective said Davis perjured himself on Aug. 7 during an adjudicatory hearing of Lang's juvenile son in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

This is not the only case pending against the officer.

Davis is charged with criminal attempt, false swearing, criminal mischief, official oppression and unsworn falsification stemming from his alleged behavior during and after a June 27 traffic stop.

Jefferson Hills resident Danielle Newlon claimed Davis shattered her BMW's driver-side window with his firearm after she fled from him in Whitaker because she didn't believe he was a real police officer. She said Davis told her she had to pay for the damaged gun or she would be charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

A non-jury trial is scheduled for June 5 at 11 a.m. before Allegheny County Common Peas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi.

Davis was suspended without pay from Whitaker Police Department by Mayor John Karichko on Oct. 25. Whitaker council upheld that disciplinary action on Nov. 5.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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