Investigation Underway After Man, 76, Injured In Police Custody

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -Was a 76-year-old man beaten by police during a traffic stop?

That’s what his family and friends are claiming and investigators are investigating.

The incident involved 76-year-old Robert C. Ruffing during a Dec. 16 arrest in Clairton.

Ruffing had been in police custody when the injuries happened. How the injuries were sustained is unclear at this time.

“The traffic stop occurred. These people were acquainted. What happened is subject to controversy right now as you can tell from the factual reports from the varying witnesses. But, Mr. Ruffing ended up in the hospital and severely injured,” attorney Robert Behling said.

Ruffing was stopped by police on Waddell Avenue because a man in his car was wanted by police.

Jesse Spence witnessed the event and told our news partners at the Pittsburgh post-Gazette, “What I saw was just out of the ordinary…(The officer) took him and just slammed him. His face was all bloodied up.”

“His injuries were facial fractures which included the orbital bone, the maxillary sinus. He also ended up with inner-cranial bleeding. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, I believe on Jan. 9, where they had to put a drain actually in his skull to drain the blood and take the pressure off his brain,” Behling said.

KDKA-TV’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland tried to contact Clairton Police, but the chief was not available. The mayor also said he could not comment because of pending litigation.

“I believe the mayor of Clairton made a statement, which I support wholeheartedly, that this should not have happened and I couldn’t agree more,” Behling said.

Ruffing is not a stranger to officials in Clairton as his wife is a member of the school board.

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