California police officer faces oppression, assault charges

December 4, 2013

CALIFORNIA – A California Borough police officer who was placed on administrative duty for disciplinary reasons is facing new allegations he assaulted a detainee last month in the department’s holding cell.

Borough police Chief Rick Encapera issued a news release Wednesday stating he was preparing to charge Officer Justin T. Shultz, 29, of Connellsville, with official oppression and simple assault in connection with the alleged Nov. 9 incident.

Shultz reportedly mistreated Adam Logan, 27, of Richeyville, about 3 a.m. while Logan was awaiting processing as a suspect in a robbery. Logan remains in Washington County jail on $10,000 bond, pending trial on charges of robbery, trespassing, simple assault, theft, loitering, receiving stolen property and harassment.

Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone, whose office is investigating the case, said Shultz allegedly pushed Logan a couple of times and slammed him between a wall and bench in the cell. Logan was handcuffed and shackled at the time of the assault, which was documented by a surveillance camera in the police station, Vittone said.

The district attorney said he was not sure what led to the assault.

Shultz and another officer were given 30-day suspensions in May over allegations they took a borough police cruiser to Washington to run an errand on a busy Friday night, leaving only one officer in town.

Encapera indicated in the news release that Shultz was taken off regular duty in June and placed on administration duty “because several untimely complaints were filed against him.”

Shultz was immediately taken off the schedule following the alleged assault. Encapera said he recommended that borough council and the mayor take further disciplinary action against the officer.

Council has scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. today to take action on just one agenda item, which involves a police matter, borough records show.

Encapera and Shultz could not be reached Wednesday. Borough solicitor Thomas Agrafiotis said he could not comment on the case and had not seen the criminal complaint.

The charges had yet to be filed late Wednesday before District Judge Joshua Kanalis, who hears California cases.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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