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Port Marion police pay $65,000 to settle civil rights lawsuit

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Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 11:09 a.m.

The Point Marion Police Department paid $65,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by a resident who was arrested in 2012 for using his cell phone to record a police officer questioning another person, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday.

The ACLU represented Gregory Rizer, 52, of Point Marion who audio recorded Officer Kevin Lukart. Lukart confiscated the cell phone and arrested Rizer but didn't charge him, the lawsuit said. After Rizer complained to the mayor, police charged him with violating the state's wiretap law but Fayette County prosecutors subsequently dropped the charges, the lawsuit said.

“Rizer's experience shows what happens when police officers try to shield their conduct from public scrutiny,” said Glen Downey, a Downtown attorney who works with the ACLU and represented Rizer. “No one should be subjected to retaliation for simply documenting a police officer's public acts.”

Lawyers for the borough couldn't be reached for comment.

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