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Jury Urges That 5 Officers Be Charged in Death

November 04, 1995|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH,Pa. — A coroner's jury ruled Friday that five white police officers who arrested a cousin of Ray Seals, a defensive end with the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, should be charged with homicide for the man's suffocation death while in custody.

Jonny Gammage, who was black, suffocated Oct. 12 after the officers pulled him over while he was driving Seals' 1988 Jaguar.

Members of Gammage's family burst into tears when they heard the jury's recommendation.

Dist. Atty. Robert Colville and Acting Coroner F. James Gregris can either accept or reject the recommendation.

Police officers have said they had to sit on Gammage and beat him with flashlights to stop him from flailing after they pulled him over for driving erratically. But Gammage's supporters have said he would never have attacked the officers. The FBI is investigating.

Wayne Babish, police chief in Brentwood, where officers began following Gammage, emphasized that the officers have not yet been charged, let alone convicted.

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