Botched SWAT raid would cost Pittsburgh $80,000 under proposed legal settlement
Pittsburgh would pay a Brighton Heights woman $80,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging city SWAT officers five years ago wrongly broke down her front door and terrorized her children after mistaking her apartment for a drug dealer’s.
City Council on Tuesday introduced a resolution that would end the lawsuit filed after the police raid. Council members fast-tracked the resolution so they can vote on it for a first time Wednesday. A final vote would be scheduled for Jan. 29.
Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, declined comment.
Downtown attorney Margaret Coleman said her client Tabatha Werkmeister lives in a duplex and officers chose the wrong door when they arrived on Jan. 25, 2014. Officers broke through the door, threw in a smoke grenade, carried off two of Werkmeister’s sons and then escorted her and other people in the house, including two other children, to a SWAT van at gunpoint, according to the lawsuit.
“It was not malicious, but it was entirely reckless,” Coleman said. “When you’re using that level of paramilitary force on civilians the city has to be extremely careful that they’re doing it to the right people. Here there were multiple opportunities to make sure they had the right door and they just didn’t bother.”
She said Werkmeister’s children are now afraid of police officers and Werkmeister has not slept in her bedroom because it’s on an upper floor and she wants to be closer to her kids at night.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, email@example.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .