Former cop arrested

Walt Johnson in 2011, receiving a commendation from Avalon Council for his work in making a major drug bust. Johnson was injured when he jumped over a fence in pursuit of the suspect.

A former Avalon Police officer was arrested this afternoon on a felony aggravated assault charge.

Walter R. Johnson, 37, had been employed as a full-time police officer in Avalon for about two years when he was fired in an emergency council meeting in June. Johnson previously had worked as a part-time officer for Avalon.

Johnson was arrested this afternoon by Allegheny County Police following a two-month investigation. He was charged with aggravated assault and official oppression for an incident said to have occurred on April 20. According to the criminal complaint, Johnson threw a prisoner into a jail cell, breaking the man's jaw and knocking a tooth into the man';s throat.

The investigation into this and other alleged behaviors by Johnson was turned over to the county police when the officer was fired.

According to court documents, Johnson was released on his own recognizance after being arraigned before a magistrate. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, Johnson has requested a hearing to challenge the termination of his employment. Avalon Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend the list of charges against Johnson, and to hire special counsel to represent the borough in the labor arbitration.

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