After A.J. Richardson was arrested for DUI during his 2013 run for Pittsburgh mayor, he said he was targeted by his political opponents.
On April 4, Richardson was arrested again—along with his wife and two of his juvenile sons—for abusing the 911 system.
The arrests were made about three hours after Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala released 32 exhibits of a motion filed in Richardson’s upcoming trial on charges of making terroristic threats, burglary and aggravated assault against a neighbor.
In the filing, Zappala asked Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani to bar Richardson from claiming police harassment due to repeated visits to his home.
According to the filing, Pittsburgh police, fire, EMS and even animal control responded to Richardson’s house following more than 100 calls made to 911 in the last several weeks, all made from his landline or from cell phones registered to him or his family.
In each case, Richardson and his family denied making the calls. On one occasion, he told the responding officers “he thinks his phone line is being tapped due to his aspiring political position.”
More than once, officers reported asking 911 to call the number back to be able to hear the phone ring inside Richardson’s house.
Many of the calls were hang-ups, lasting just a few seconds, but some were longer, including one from March 15 in which a female caller said “she was being beaten by her husband and that he had a gun,” and that it “sounded like she was being choked.” Only the two sons were home at the time.
The following afternoon, 911 dispatched officers after a caller said, “he was hurt from falling down the steps, his brother Jason Richardson was upstairs beating his mother and that his mother may have a head injury.” Again, no one was injured and all denied making the call.
When officers responded to another call on March 23, Richardson called it “police harassment,” while he and his sons recorded the visit on smart phones and a camera.
A press release on Richardson’s arrest from the Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety stated that the Bureau of Police alone spent more than $11,000 investigating and responding to the fraudulent calls.
Richardson, his wife Felecia Richardson and two sons have been charged with multiple counts of filing a false report to 911, conspiracy to abuse 911, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, harassment, obstruction of the administration of justice, intimidation and disorderly conduct.
Felecia Richardson has been released and is home with their youngest son. Richardson remains in the Allegheny County jail and his older sons, 12 and 15, remain in the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.
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