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Former officer sues Washington County officials

| Monday, Nov. 29, 2010

A former Burgettstown police officer claims in a federal civil rights lawsuit that borough and Washington County officials secretly taped her dressing and undressing at the police station and, along with the state police, maliciously prosecuted her.

Amber Price, who has been a defendant in several citizen lawsuits, says in the lawsuit filed Friday that former Burgettstown police Chief George Roberts and District Attorney Steve Toprani conspired to violate her civil rights.

She was suspended from the force in February 2009 when criminal charges were filed against her for allegedly lying on a police affidavit, and her career is effectively over, the lawsuit says. The borough disbanded its police department May 1.

The charges were initially dismissed by a district judge and then re-filed by state police. The district attorney withdrew the charges in September 2009.

Price claims that Roberts and Toprani had the camera installed to catch another officer having sex. Borough solicitor Robert Clarke said the district attorney had the camera installed for security reasons and it was placed to record people entering and leaving the police offices, which shared a hallway with the borough's municipal offices.

Clarke said he hadn't seen the lawsuit, but he's confident there was no connection between the video camera and Price's prosecution.

County and state police representatives couldn't be reached for comment.

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