Erie Police Department internal investigation underway

Local News

An Erie police officer is accused of using excessive force during an arrest. That led to a complaint being filed against the officer, and now an investigation is underway by internal affairs. 

On November 23, 2019, Erie police officers made their way to this location on the suspicion that someone inside was wanted. 

Now one man inside is the being called a victim. 

Thirty-two-year-old Lee McLaurin appeared in court for a hearing about evidence involved a drug case. 

As part of that hearing, a surveillance video was shown of officers arresting McLaurin. 

In that video, it appears to show a police officer punching McLaurin in the head. 

“This happens in a split second, but there’s a big difference between one punch and seven times. And there is a bigger difference between a punch in the face and a punch in the stomach, which I think the video shows a few punches to the stomach prior to the one to the face,” said Gene Placidi, defense lawyer. 

This video igniting yet another investigation inside the Erie Police Department. 

“The video was not turned over to us until just about a week or two ago, we did receive a citizen’s complaint on June 30. That complaint has been forwarded over to the inspector. Internal affairs will do a thorough investigation of the incident,” said Chief Dan Spizarny, Erie Police Department. 

“What was your reaction when watching that video,” asked Chelsey Withers, JET24/FOX66. 

 “Well because we are actively investigating this, I can’t make any other public comment at this time,” answered Mayor Joe Schember. 

Placidi revealed the complaint filed was against Patrolman Nicholas Strauch. 

With another complaint against EPD in motion, many are left to wonder where does city council stand on establishing a citizens’ review board to take a look at these sorts of issues. 

“A citizen review board is a critical part of what we want to do, but more importantly it is how do we put this together,” said Ed Brzezinski, Erie City Councilman 

Discussions about starting this began after the Erie police officer incident on May 30. 

As for the status of that officer the administration say they cannot comment due to the investigation. 

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