FRAZER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of nine Mexican men who say they were falsely arrested at a local shopping mall and held for hours.
Two of the men used $100 bills to pay for items at the JC Penney store at Pittsburgh Mills Mall when Sara Rose, from the ACLU, says the men were taken away by store security.
She says Frazer Township Police officers, which are located at the mall, accused the men of using fake money.
Eventually, Rose says all nine members of the group, some of whom weren’t even in the store, were in handcuffs.
The suit alleges they were held for hours with no food or water and that their van was ransacked by officers and their groceries ruined.
A week earlier, two men from Mexico were arrested in Washington County for using fake $100 bills.
“You can’t simply round up all the Mexicans because two Mexicans in another county committed a crime,” said Rose. “It was a very scary thing for these guys to go through knowing that they had done nothing wrong, but not understanding why the police were taking them.”
The men are here legally, she says. They live in Sharpsburg half the year while working for a lawn service.
Both Frazer Township Police Officers and JC Penney are named in the suit.
JC Penney did not respond to our call for a comment.
Tim Bish, solicitor for Frazer, says he has not officially received the suit. However, he said, “These are only allegations at this point. The township will respond to these allegations through the normal course of the judicial system.”