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4 Shenandoah, Pa., police officers charged

Dec. 15, 2009 at 10:53 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The police chief and two officers in a small Pennsylvania town have been charged with covering up the killing of a Hispanic man, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A fourth officer was charged with extortion.

The U.S. Justice Department released three indictments handed up last week by a grand jury. The first charges two men, Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky, with beating and killing Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Pa., in 2008, and with conspiring with members of the police department to obstruct justice.

The second indictment charges Police Chief Matthew Nestor, Lt. William Moyer and Police Officer Jason Hayes with conspiracy to obstruct justice. In the third, Nestor and Capt. Jamie Gennarini, Nestor's deputy, are charged with extortion and civil rights violations for allegedly demanding thousands of dollars from illegal gambling businesses between 2004 and 2007.

Shenandoah, a town of 5,000 in the anthracite coal region 105 miles northwest of Philadelphia, was left with only three police officers on patrol, The New York Times said.

Donchak, 19, and Piekarsky, 18, were convicted of a misdemeanor, simple assault, and acquitted of more serious state charges. They were allegedly part of a group of high school students who attacked Ramirez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, on the street.

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