HOLLIDAYSBURG - A videotape that allegedly recorded an October confrontation between a Tyrone man and several Altoona police officers has either been destroyed or taped over, leading to a request Friday by a defense attorney to drop assault charges against his client.
Matthew Scott Mallory, 23, of 147 Cranberry St., Tyrone, faces several serious charges that could land him in prison for many years, including six counts of aggravated assault, three counts of disarming law enforcement officers and resisting arrest.
"The significance of the videotape is that it is believed ... that several eyewitnesses can testify that the officers from the Altoona Police Department physically assaulted [Mallory] by punching and kicking him numerous times about the face and head, as well as Tasering him more than 20 times without the defendant continually struggling or resisting police officers," defense attorney Brian H. Grabill wrote in his petition filed in Blair County Court.
Mallory was charged after he allegedly fought the officers when he and a woman became embroiled in an argument that spilled from her apartment onto 14th Avenue, police said.
The woman had a protection-from-abuse order against Mallory, and the two began fighting when she came home and found him in her apartment.
Police contend that when they arrived, Mallory clenched his fist and took a defensive position.
Before the brawl ended, six officers were treated at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus.
As the case against Mallory moved toward trial, Grabill learned that a dashboard tape recorder mounted in one of the police cruisers captured the brawl on film. He requested a copy of the tape.
Grabill continued to seek the tape, but when he didn't receive a copy of it, he went before Judge Elizabeth Doyle on Feb. 16 and obtained an order that city police turn over the tape within 20 days, court documents state. The defense agreed to reimburse the city for the preparation of a copy.
The Blair County District Attorney's Office informed Grabill on April 1 that the tape was no longer available.
During the scuffle with police, Mallory, who weighs 130 pounds, was stunned with a Taser 20 times, Grabill said. He likened the fight to "the football team beating up the kicker," noting the difference in size between Mallory and the police officers.
The charges stated that Mallory repeatedly pulled the Taser probes out of his body during the alleged fight with police.
Grabill is asking the court to sanction the city by ordering that no Altoona police officers be permitted to testify during Mallory's trial - essentially that charges be dismissed.
Altoona police officials could not be reached for comment Friday. Assistant District Attorney Russell Montgomery said his understanding is that city police reuse the videotapes in the cruisers every few days, but he said he does not believe that the charges should be dismissed.
He said Mallory's trial should proceed, but the jury should be told about the tape and what happened to it, Montgomery said.
No date has been set for a hearing on Grabill's petition.