Wilkinsburg paying $135,000 to settle resident's claims of improper arrest

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Wilkinsburg has agreed to pay $135,000 to settle a resident’s claims that she was improperly arrested, falsely imprisoned and denied due process, according to documents released last week.

Kate Luxemburg, chair of the Wilkinsburg Redevelopment Authority, in 2012 sued the borough, police Chief Ophelia Coleman and two officers. She contended that a July 2011 arrest for theft, criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass, burglary and criminal mischief — all charges which were eventually dropped — was driven by her support of a district judge candidate and pursuit of a redevelopment grant.

Ms. Luxemburg, 68, claimed that the authority she leads was considering taking possession of an abandoned house for redevelopment purposes, when a man asked her if he could remove items for salvage. Though Ms. Luxemburg did not give him permission, according to her complaint, he removed items anyway, and police arrested her, claiming publicly that she led a burglary ring.

Ms. Luxemburg said Saturday that her authority was on the verge of securing a grant from Allegheny County when the arrest nixed the effort. She said Wilkinsburg officials favored a different development group.

In the settlement agreement, Wilkinsburg denied any wrongdoing.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published July 2, 2014 12:00 AM

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