Judge Doesn't Believe City Officer Issued Threat to Driver

By BobKerlik | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Judge Doesn't Believe City Officer Issued Threat to Driver


BobKerlik, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


An Allegheny County judge acquitted a Hill District woman Friday of disorderly conduct, but said he did not believe her claims that a Pittsburgh police officer pointed a gun at her children and threatened to kill one.

Pamela Lawton, 37, was convicted of four traffic-related offenses and was fined $650 and ordered to pay court costs, which could push her total bill to more than $1,500.

Lawton accused Officer Eric Tatusko of pointing his gun at her and her children after he pulled her over in August 2006 for having an expired inspection sticker. Lawton testified yesterday that Tatusko told her daughter, who was 7 at the time and in the front seat, to stop moving.

"He said, 'If she moves again, I'll blow her brains out,' " Lawton testified. "The gun was pointed straight at the window."

Lawton said the incident occurred because she is black. Tatusko is white.

Tatusko testified Thursday he drew his gun during the stop because Lawton was reaching for her purse and could have had a weapon. …

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