Authorities in Pennsylvania filed assault charges against a man, whom they initially declined to arrest, after he was caught on video forcibly restraining a child in a park.
Shalayla McGovern says her 16-year-old daughter walked to a park in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood on June 25, to meet with some friends. The teenage girl reportedly asked her 13-year-old brother to get her cell phone charger from their home a few blocks away and meet her at the park. When McGovern’s son got to the park, she says he noticed one of his friends crying in an abandoned truck that had been at the neighborhood park for years. The son eventually calmed the crying girl down and got his friend to exit the truck.
“He saw them over by the truck, assumed they were vandalizing it, and he called the police,” McGovern told The Root. “He waited and waited but the police didn’t show. So he called the police again [but] nothing happened.”
“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.”
The man, identified as Thomas D’Andrea, can be seen straddling the 13-year-old as the child complains that his head and his arm are hurting. The sister cries as she begs the man to get off her little brother. But D’Andrea insists he can’t release the boy “until the police get here.”
“I am 13 years old,” the boy explains to the camera as he pleads for his sister to go get help. “This man ran up to me and assaulted me.”
“This child [was] vandalizing property and assaulting a 46-year-old man,” says D’Andrea, while urging onlookers to “take more fucking pictures” before he explodes into an expletive-filled rant.
“The police didn’t fucking come,” he explains, calling either the child or his sister a “fucking maniac.”
As the incident occurred, McGovern says her daughter called her father, who rushed out of the house, and she followed. When police finally arrived, they declined to arrest D’Andrea, telling the family that the man hadn’t committed a crime.
“They were trying to say that they weren’t going to arrest him, this wasn’t an arrestable offense, and I went off on them,” McGovern told The Root. “I took my son to the emergency room and I told the doctors and nurses what happened.
“I asked them to call the police,” McGovern continued. “After talking to several people and a social worker, they were able to persuade the police to press assault charges even though they first only charged him with disorderly conduct.”
D’Andrea also reportedly serves on the neighborhood association committee.
When contacted by local news station, WPXI, D’Andrea, said that he was the one who was assaulted and his wife claimed that he is the real victim.