A Pittsburgh area woman recently met the heavy hand of local law enforcement during an intense 12-hour police roundup, which serves as yet another reminder about the fragility of our individual liberties. As reported by WTAE News in Pittsburgh, police officers barged into Robyn Ruckman’s home after demanding that she procure proper identification for an arrest warrant, all over uncut grass that was the responsibility of her landlord.
The sweep was initiated in the Turtle Creek area of southeastern Pittsburgh in response to more than 100 outstanding warrants, one of which was aimed at Ruckman’s property. Reports indicate that Ruckman’s lawn had been improperly maintained by her landlord for quite some time, which resulted in a warrant being issued on the owner for Failure to Maintain.
When police approached Ruckman’s door to serve the warrant on the day of the sweep, they demanded to know her name and ordered her to show her ID. When she tried to close the door to retrieve her ID, officers from East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek, and the Housing Authority forcefully pushed it back open and proceeded to follow her inside against her wishes.
When Ruckman inquired as to why the officers did not appear to be wearing proper identification, they cursed at her and once again demanded her ID. As she turned around to walk back inside the house, officers followed Ruckman, showing clear signs of aggressive animosity and brute intent. Fortunately, Ruckman was able to capture the entire harrowing encounter on video, as she had previously planted a hidden camera.
“I didn’t want to tell them anything because I figured this is a test of my civil rights,” Ruckman is quoted as saying to WTAE about her encounter with law enforcement. “You don’t need to know who I am if I’m in my house.”
You can view a WTAE news report on the encounter, complete with Ruckman’s captured footage, here:
Law enforcement becoming increasingly more hostile, violent in militarized American police state
Though police officers technically have the right to request ID in search warrant cases, Ruckman was particularly incensed by the fact that the officers who showed up at her door denied her request to simply wait outside. Since she was not the culprit they were looking for, she reportedly felt violated by their abrupt and crude entry into her home, not to mention their refusal to act civilly and humanely in dealing with her.
“They could have defused the level of animosity in the situation had they been a little more polite,” says Wesley Oliver, a law professor at Duquesne University, about the situation. “Officers can be very authoritative while being polite. The two are not inconsistent.”
Unfortunately, such verbal and behavioral brutality by law enforcement seems to be the new norm throughout much of the U.S. This is evidenced by a number of other recent incidents, including the case of police officers shooting an individual’s dog point blank in Texas, for instance, and officers violently detaining suspected drunk drivers and forcibly drawing their blood in Georgia.
All of these things and more point to the increasingly authoritative police state that is growing in America today. Even if Ruckman’s landlord was in violation of the law with her poorly maintained property, does this relatively minor infraction really warrant such barbaric treatment by police officers against a member of the general public?
“It’s bad enough that the police now look like the military — with their foreboding uniforms and phalanx of lethal weapons — but they function like them, as well,” wrote John W. Whitehead, President of The Rutherford Institute, in a recent piece at Huffington Post. “No longer do they act as peace officers guarding against violent criminals. And no more do we have a civilian police force entrusted with serving and protecting the American people and keeping the peace.”
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