Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Officials Look into Police Search of Home

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Officials Look into Police Search of Home

Article excerpt

Turtle Creek officials are investigating an incident in which a group of police officers barged into a woman's home, swore at her and searched her house while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on her landlord.

The officers also turned off a video camera the woman had trained on the front door after she heard the officers' walkie-talkies as they approached the house.

Robyn Ruckman, the tenant of the Maple Avenue house, posted the video on YouTube shortly after the officers left her home May 29.

"The cops are at the door and they want to see my ID ... so I'm going to leave the camera on," she said at the beginning of the 2- minute, 30-second video.

She walked downstairs, pointed the camera at the door and opened it.

A man's voice can be heard: "What's your name?"

"Robyn," she responded.

"Robyn what?" the man's voice said.

"Ruckman," she said.

The officers then asked for identification.

"Let me get it," Ms. Ruckman said as she tried to close the door.

"Leave the door open and get your ID right now!" an officer shouted.

Ms. Ruckman then said she didn't see a name tag on the officers' uniforms.

"I don't give a [expletive] what you see. Go get your ID. See that? It says police," the officer shouted.

As she walked upstairs, three officers entered the house. Ms. Ruckman asked them to wait.

"No, I can't wait here, because I think you're trying to avoid us," one of the officers said.

"We're here trying to serve an arrest warrant, OK? We have every right to be here," an officer said, noting that they were looking for Roben Edwards, the property owner and Ms. Ruckman's landlord.

"I'm not Roben Edwards!" Ms. Ruckman can be heard shouting on the video.

Nearly two minutes into the video, an officer turned the camera toward the wall. The officers' faces were never visible in the video.

Ms. Ruckman can be heard telling the officers there was no one else in the house. The officers repeated the request for ID.

As Ms. Ruckman and the man continued to yell, someone picked up the camera and turned it off, 2 minutes and 31 seconds from when she began filming.

Ms. Edwards -- who owns several rental units on Maple Avenue with her partner Ronald Cotyk Jr. -- was cited with "failure to maintain property" in September 2010 after a neighbor complained about uncut grass and a sizable Rose of Sharon plant, she said in an interview this week. Mr. Cotyk received the same citation, court records show.

Ms. Edwards said she and Mr. Cotyk maintain the yards the best they can, but she is being treated for ovarian cancer. Since she's fallen ill, she said she has paid workers to maintain the yards of her six rental units in Turtle Creek.

She said she and Mr. Cotyk buy boarded-up houses and renovate them as rentals.

Ms. Edwards never responded to the citation, so an arrest warrant was issued, a staff member for District Judge Scott Schricker said. …

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