WATCH: Pa. Firefighter who Restrained 13-year-Old at Park Charged with Assault

Ben Keller

A Pittsburgh firefighter caught on video restraining a 13-year-old boy he thought was vandalizing charged with assault.

A firefighter in Pittsburgh has been placed on administrative leave after authorities charged him for assaulting a 13-year-old boy on June 25.

Officers arrived at a park in Pittsburgh's Greenfield neighborhood to find 46-year-old Thomas Louis D'Andrea holding down the boy at a neighborhood playground, police officers said.

The boy suffered a large lump on his head, a bloody mouth and swollen lips from the altercation, police said.

The boy's 16-year-old sister caught parts of the altercation on video, which she later shared with police and posted on Twitter.

Video begins showing Pittsburgh firefighter Thomas Louis D'Andrea holding down the boy, as she cries for him to stop.

"Please get off my brother," she can be heard saying in the video repeatedly.

"I am 13-years-old," the boy explains

"This man ran up to me and assaulted me," he says to the camera as his sister records.

But D'Andrea does not listen and continues using force on the boy.

"This child was vandalizing property and assaulting a 46-year-old man," D'Andrea says while telling witnesses to "take more fucking pictures" before he explodes in a profanity-laced rant.

"The police didn't fucking come," he later says, calling one of the children a "fucking maniac."

Shalayla McGovern, the children's mother, says it happened when her daughter asked her brother to retrieve her cell phone charger from their home nearby and meet her at the park, according to The Root.

When her son returned to the park, he noticed one of his friends sitting in an abandoned truck, which had been parked in the neighborhood for years, McGovern explained.

Eventually, her son calmed the girl down and she exited the truck.

"He saw them over by the truck, assumed they were vandalizing it, and he called police," McGovern said.

"He waited and waited but the police didn't show. So he called the police again, but nothing happened."

McGovern explained:

“So he got upset, ran across the street and ran up to my son and basically said: ‘I’m gonna give you a head start, you better run.’

My son was like ‘What? What are you talking about?’

“Then he punched my son in the mouth. So my son hit him back.

“He got upset because my son hit him back. He thought that because he was an adult he could put his hands on someone and the child wasn’t gonna do anything. The next thing you know, they’re on top of the slide. He pins my son down, threatens my daughter...Thankfully my daughter had enough sense to record it.”

As the incident unfolded, McGovern's daughter called her father who rushed out of the house.

When police showed up, they tell the child's mother the D'Andrea had not committed a crime.

However, police later determined D'Andrea was the aggressor, later filing charges of criminal mischief (for slamming the boy's cell phone) and simple assault against him.

A summons was mailed to D'Andrea notifying him of the charges, which were approved by the district attorney's office.

After the assault, the boy was taken to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to be treated for injuries and monitored due to asthma-related trouble breathing.

A second video showing the more of what happened during the incident can be seen below.

Comments (23)
gandaulf2000
gandaulf2000

No man present. Too bad. Had I been there that guy would have got a boot toe in the temple.

CathyW
CathyW

What is a grown 46 yr old man doing getting involved in kids problems on a playground ? Is he a chester the molester ?

Copslayer
Copslayer

I’m telling you right now my son at 15 years old had already been wrestling and doing MMA for 11 years.

If this fucker would have attacked him he would’ve ended up with his ass in the hospital. How badly he got hurt would have been determined on how long he continue to attack my son.

Then if my son received any punishment for that I would’ve went straight to the fucker’s house and dealt with them

alanfalleur
alanfalleur

Even if he were committing vandalism, unless it was a felony, a citizen's arrest is illegal. The vandalism has to be over a certain amount for it to be a felony, usually $500.

8 Replies

Kjell Skaht
Kjell Skaht

Thanks to your post I learned a bit more about citizen's arrest today. Pennsylvania law is precisely as you stated, only for a felony. I'm from Georgia, where it's codified by state law that such arrest may be made if the citizen witnesses commission of a misdemeanor or felony or has reason to believe that a felony was committed. I live in Florida now, where it isn't codified but is considered a part of the common law that state laws are descended from (which is a very wide gap in the law that can be used by either or both sides if one were ever to make or attempt to make a citizen's arrest here).

Thanks for prompting me to learn a bit more.

Copslayer
Copslayer

Yes it’s different from state to state but you dont get the same protections as a cop when a mistake is made such as the current case.

Thats why I leave it alone unless its life or death instead calling the cop if I think there is a victim

goon303
goon303

If the firefighter's story is true, then he was in the right and a citizen's arrest was legal, because according to the firefighter, he first called the police to report the kids for vandalizing (but they didn't show up) so he followed the boy to the park possibly to help the police find the kid and according to the firefighter, the boy threw the first punch hitting him in the face and he responded by hitting the kid back and pinning him down. If that is true, then the boy did commit a felony by assaulting the firefighter.

If the boy is to be believed, then the firefighter had no right to make a citizen's arrest, because he assaulted the boy first and vandalizing is a misdemeanor, not a felony.

All depends on whose version of the story is correct. After watching the video though, I believe the firefighter. First off, why call the police if you just assaulted someone illegally? And why didn't the kids call the police? The girl had a working phone. She also could have screamed for help too, but she didn't.

Very weird behavior on behalf of the kids. Their story just doesn't add up.

alanfalleur
alanfalleur

Well, since he's the one being charged with a crime and not the youngster, I'm thinking there isn't a lot of evidence to support his accusations.

Bergman
Bergman

That's not necessarily true. Each state defines citizen's arrest differently, which ranges from the common law standard (felonies and disturbing the peace) through some states actually giving citizens the authority by statute, to extremes like Kentucky where private citizens actually have greater authority to make arrests and use force during the arrest than actual police do!

In Pennsylvania, they follow the common law definitions. But certain types of vandalism can be disorderly conduct, which is a breach of the peace and therefore something a citizen's arrest is lawful for in PA.

Bergman
Bergman

People call the police after committing a crime all the time, because they don't think they're a criminal -- usually because they consider themselves fully justified, and why would that be a crime?

The classic PINAC example of this is someone who thinks they have an expectation of privacy in public and assaulting a photographer, stealing the camera or breaking the camera (or all three) because someone took their picture without permission. If the photographer fights back, the criminal will typically call the police to report the photographer for taking pictures in public and defending themself or their property!

goon303
goon303

Yeah, but is there evidence to support the kid's claims other than the bruises is there? None of this really makes sense. The police initially were not going to charge the firefighter, and then after pressure from some nurses and social workers, they flipped. Something's not right here.

Joveria
Joveria

The guy called the police, then assaulted the kid. The sister didn't call the police because she was filming with her phone so couldn't use it to call.

Sman
Sman

Looks like he will becoming a cop soon. Has all of the qualifications.

StevenThomas1949
StevenThomas1949

Wow what a Moron Firefighter who put his little buddy into the Meat Grinder!


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