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Ex-Pittsburgh cop wants to remain out of prison while appealing conviction

Megan Guza
| Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, 11:51 a.m.
Former Pittsburgh police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich (right) arrives at the federal courthouse Tuesday, April 26, 2016, with his attorney Tina Miller.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Former Pittsburgh police Sgt. Stephen Matakovich (right) arrives at the federal courthouse Tuesday, April 26, 2016, with his attorney Tina Miller.

A former Pittsburgh police sergeant convicted of violating a man's civil rights has asked a judge to allow him to remain out of prison while his appeal works its way through the federal court system.

A judge last month sentenced Stephen Matakovich to 27 months in prison for violating the rights of Gabriel Despres, then 19, at a WPIAL football game at Heinz Field in 2015.

Matakovich, 49, appealed the decision late last month and filed a motion this week requesting to remain free pending the appeal's outcome.

The motion cites a video that allegedly shows Depres talking with two police officers in a police cruiser just after his arrest. In the video, Despres jokes about his arrest and mocks the weakness of Matakovich's blows.

“During the conversation, (Despres) commented that the defendant was not trying to hurt him and that the defendant did not punch that hard,” according to the filing.

A motion asking for permission for Matakovich to travel to Myrtle Beach later this month was denied Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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