DA reduces charges, El brothers vow to fight on

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True to his word, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephan Zappala directed that assault charges filed against brothers Will and Beyshaud El following a July encounter with Pittsburgh police be reduced to summary offenses. But even those charges are too much, said attorney Celeste Whiteford, who represents Beyshaud El, and the brothers will fight them.

“Basically, he reduced it to disorderly conduct, but we chose not to accept that,” she said after a March 5 hearing. “We feel its important to fight this case because beginning, middle and end, it was their fault. These kids didn’t do anything.”

A police video taken during the July arrest appears to show Pittsburgh police officers slamming 20-year-old Will El against a wall and Tasering 18-year-old Beyshaud El after they had already been stopped, searched and detained. Both were then charged with aggravated assault. Neither brother has a police record and no weapons or drugs were found during the stop.

“We will reconvene April 15 and go from there,” said Whiteford.

In the meantime, the boys’ mother Medina El, who languished in the Allegheny County jail for a week on a $100,000 bond, was finally released Feb. 21 after her attorney Sumner Parker got the bond reduced to zero.

She was originally arrested after an officer responding to the sound of gunfire stopped her and  her 23-year-old passenger, Timothy Bazemore, driving along Kelly Street in Homewood with the lights off.

Medina El’s car was riddled with bullet holes and inside police found a gun and trace amounts of marijuana. Bazemore, who they described as a known gang-banger, was wearing police-type body armor.  His bail was set at only $50,000.

Parker submitted documents proving Medina El had a permit for the gun.  She is still suspended from her job as a caseworker for Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families.

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