Avalon woman claims police violated her civil rights during search of home

Brian Bowling
| Friday, April 26, 2013, 11:09 a.m.

An Avalon woman claims in a federal lawsuit that an Avalon police officer and two Bellevue police officers violated her civil rights during a search of her home.

Nicole L. Anderson, age unknown, claims Avalon Officer Sean Kirley lacked probable cause for the Feb. 11, 2001, search and then falsely arrested her for heroin found in the home that belonged to her sons. Allegheny County prosecutors dropped the charges when a judge ruled the search warrant did not state probable cause and threw out the evidence, the lawsuit states.

Anderson's lawyer, Robert Mielnicki, could not be reached for comment.

Kirley could not be reached for comment, and no attorney was listed for him in court documents.

The lawsuit claims Bellevue Officers James Niglio and Earl Grubbs participated in the unlawful search.

Attorney Paul Krepps, who represents them, said the Bellevue officers were investigating a drive-by shooting and had probable cause for their search.

“That's why they went to Avalon to that house, because they had reason to believe that there might be evidence in that house related to this drive-by shooting,” Krepps said.

Once drugs were found in the house, Avalon police halted the search and obtained a new warrant, he said. The Bellevue officers pulled out to continue their investigation of the shooting, Krepps said.

The lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court from the county court.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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