Felony against APD officer dropped

SLOVAN – Prosecutors in Washington County have dropped a felony assault charge against an Altoona police officer.

Matthew Plummer, 27, of Altoona will plead guilty to disorderly conduct, a third-degree misdemeanor, according to prosecutors. Plummer had faced a felony aggravated assault charge stemming from a Sept. 7 altercation in the parking lot of the First Niagara Pavilion, just outside Burgettstown, in Hanover Township, Washington County, that sent a man to a hospital after only one punch.

Plummer appeared Thursday at Magisterial District Court in Slovan for his scheduled preliminary hearing on the matter, but in the end, prosecutors and Plummer’s defense attorney, Steven Passarello, worked out a deal.

“Obviously, our position from the beginning was this was not an aggravated assault,” Passarello said. “We’re extremely pleased at this point that charge was dropped.”

Washington County Assistant District Attorney Josh Carroll said there are no further suspects or investigation into the case. It remains a mystery as to who broke a window on a bus chartered by off-duty police officers and 911 dispatchers attending a Kid Rock, ZZ Top and Uncle Kracker concert. After the show, someone threw a beer bottle and broke a window on the bus.

Although police reported no one saw who threw the bottle, Plummer told police he looked out the window and saw a man “mooning” the bus.

Thomas Andrews, 41, of Moundsville, W.Va., and a friend, were outside the bus but denied causing the damage to the bus to the Fullington Bus Co. driver who had gone outside to investigate. Passarello previously said Plummer stepped off the bus to make sure the driver was all right, and one of the two men took a swing at him, prompting Plummer to hit Andrews once in the face.

Andrews fell to ground and was bleeding from his mouth when Hanover Township police arrived on scene and was hospitalized after the incident. Andrews’ attorney, Herman Lantz, said Andrews still has injuries due to the incident but declined to comment further, only adding that Plummer’s disorderly conduct charge showed Plummer intended to do harm. When asked if Andrews, who pleaded guilty Thursday to a summary disorderly conduct charge for exposing his buttocks, was pleased with the plea agreement, Lantz only said, “He signed off on it.”

Carroll said the victim signed off on the deal and that everyone was pleased with the outcome of the matter.

“We just took everything into consideration,” Carroll said, speaking about the reason prosecutors dropped the felony charge.

Plummer is due to appear in Washington County Court on Dec. 6 to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge.

What effect it will have on his job as an Altoona police officer remains to be seen. Altoona Police Chief Janice Freehling said Thursday that the internal investigation into the matter has not wrapped up, and she had no further comment at this time, calling it a personnel matter.