Attorney for Kenneth Vinyard calls out Pennsylvania attorney general

Kenneth Vinyard attorney calls out state attorney general

MONACA, Pa. (KDKA) — The attorney for the man who died after being pushed by an off-duty police officer is calling out the Pennsylvania attorney general.

Joel Sansone, the attorney for Kenneth Vinyard's family, said the officer pushed and killed Vinyard when he was trying to help a shooting victim in the parking lot of the Monaca Walmart last November.

The victim's estate was awarded nearly $1 million to settle the civil lawsuit, but his family's lawyer said the officer should also face criminal charges. 

On Monday, Sansone blasted the attorney general's office, which now has the case. He called on the office to file criminal charges against the off-duty officer, John Hawk. He is accused of knocking down Vinyard to the ground, causing him to hit his head and fracture his skull.

Sansone called it murder.

"There can be no peace for this family until Mr. Vinyard's murdered is brought to justice," he said. "It has been six months since Ken Vinyard was killed. The state police investigation of this incident took place a long time ago."

"This month is really bad for us," said Marcy Beatty, Vinyard's fiancé. "It's been an ongoing nightmare. It was six months Saturday."

Beaver County Coroner Dave Gabauer said he has not ruled on a cause and manner of death because the autopsy is not done. But Sansone says his expert, Cyril Wecht, points to the officer's actions.

"Wecht has advised me the cause of death is the actions of Mr. Hawk," he said. "It's likely Mr. Vinyard suffered a cardiac episode as a direct result of the trauma he suffered when his head hit the ground."  

At last check, Hawk was still on administrative leave. On Monday, KDKA-TV reached out to Center Township to ask about the status of Hawk but was told to call the solicitor. No one called back Monday. 

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