Police commander named in PFA

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A North Side business owner, who claims he fears for his life, has filed a Protection From Abuse complaint against Pittsburgh Zone 1 Police Cmdr. Rashall Brackney. She has called the filing “an abomination.”

rashallbrackney
COMMANDER RASHALL BRACKNEY

In his complaint, Andrew Lee, owner of Executive Cigar LLC, on Suismon Street, said after he broke off a sexual relationship with Brackney, she threatened to destroy him and his business. Brackney said there was no such relationship.

“This PFA was filed without merit,” Cmdr. Brackney wrote in a statement May 10. “Mr. Lee and I have never had a personal relationship, and there is a well-documented history and paper trail of any interactions which I have had with Lee. This history will illustrate the absurdity of his claim in the coming days. As a police officer who has walked the streets for over 28 years, I can say how vital PFAs are in protecting innocent victims from abusive tormentors. To see the PFA statute utilized in this way is no less than an abomination of our system and is disrespectful to victims of abuse of which it is intended to protect.”

In his complaint, Lee said Brackney confronted his lawyer Todd Hollis at the Savoy Restaurant May 8 and told him she would “kick (Lee’s) a…”

Lee said Hollis told him the next morning and he immediately filed the PFA because “this isn’t the first time she’s threatened me. I believe that due to her unique position as a commander, she can carry out her threat. I am afraid for my life.”

According to Lee’s statement, in late February Brackney called him in “a fit of rage” after he had broken off their relationship and said she would destroy him.  He claims she had his business shut down for zoning violations.

Lee’s cigar store, which opened in 2009, had been ordered closed following numerous complaints about loud, late night parties and fights spilling out into the street. Lee said he had leased the top floor of his building for after-hours parties, but has since dissolved that partnership. About 30 residents attended an April 17 hearing asking that the shop remain closed, but the order was stayed pending a second zoning board hearing.

Lee’s complaint was filed two days before that second hearing. As a result, Brackney, who as the Zone 1 commander would typically have testified about complaints she received from Lee’s neighbors, did not speak. She attended the hearing, but stayed in a separate room to comply with the PFA.

Brackney is still on duty at the Zone 1 station, but per the requirements of the PFA, she must surrender her service weapon at the end of each shift.  Neither Lee’s attorney nor Brackney’s attorney Tina Miller returned calls for additional comment.

Warner Macklin III, who is acting as Brackney’s spokesman, said he found the timing of the PFA filing “peculiar.”

“And it’s preposterous to think that a police commander would put her career at risk by threatening (Lee) to his attorney,” said Macklin. “It boggles the mind.”

A hearing on the PFA is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 17.  Macklin said he would expect Hollis to be present, as he may be called as a witness.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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