Pittsburgh police officers sued for unlawful entrance of Arlington home

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An Arlington couple has sued Pittsburgh police officers, alleging the officers unlawfully entered their home following a traffic stop of their son in Feb. 2012.

The lawsuit filed by Joseph Milcarek, Sr., and Mary Catherine Milcarek states that a search warrant had been obtained by Officer David Sisak under false pretenses and without probable cause, and that other, unnamed officers "unnecessarily damaged" the couple's home during the search.

Officer Sisak had pulled the couple's son over Feb. 4, 2012 for a suspended license plate. Joseph Milcarek, Jr. was then arrested, as his passenger had an active protection from abuse order filed against him, the lawsuit states.

The officer then found a shotgun round on the driver's seat and applied for a search warrant of Mr. Milcarek's home, stating possession of the round also violated the PFA and he believed there was additional ammunition or firearms at the man's residence.

The suit states "there was no prohibition in the PFA against Joseph Milcarek, Jr. possessing a firearm or ammunition."

Though neighbors told police the Milcareks's son did not live in the Sur Way home, police entered the home, "by breaking down the rear door, completely removing it from its hinges" and damaged items in the home, the lawsuit claims.

The officers violated the Milcareks' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as commonwealth laws, according to the suit. The plaintiffs are seeking reimbursement for property damage, medical costs and loss of income; punitive damages and attorney's fees.

Officer Sisak was one of three police officers who Jordan Miles, then a a high school senior and viola player, accused of beating him in January 2010 on a Homewood street. They said he ran when questioned and resisted arrest and claimed they thought he had a gun.

A jury found in August 2012 that the officers had not maliciously prosecuted Mr. Miles and could not reach unanimity on whether he was falsely arrested and subjected to excessive force. A second trial in the civil case filed by Mr. Miles has been postponed from a November date to March 10.

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Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. First Published October 11, 2013 2:39 PM


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