Former Wilkinsburg official sues borough over 2011 arrest

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Former Wilkinsburg Redevelopment Authority chair Kate Luxemburg today sued the borough and several of its police department members, claiming that a July 2011 arrest was political retribution.

Ms. Luxemburg, 66, who continues to live in Wilkinsburg, wrote in the complaint in U.S. District Court that she supported a candidate for the district judge seat serving the borough.

Later, the authority considered taking possession of an abandoned house on Rebecca Avenue.

A man asked Ms. Luxemburg whether he could remove some items from the house for salvage. Ms. Luxemburg, according to the complaint, did not give him permission, but said that removing the items would be good for the authority.

A candidate for district judge who did not have Ms. Luxemburg's support complained about the arrangement, it said. Ms. Luxemburg was arrested, charged with theft and trespassing, and "paraded in handcuffs in front of the television reporters," it said. The charges were later dismissed.

Ms. Luxemburg was denied constitutionally guaranteed due process and falsely imprisoned, according to the complaint by attorney James Ross. She demanded compensatory and punitive damages.

Neither the borough secretary nor Police Chief Ophelia Coleman could be immediately reached for comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542


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