BALDWIN (KDKA) — A judge has dropped disorderly conduct charges against a local woman who says she was racially profiled by police after converting to the Muslim religion.
Krysti Swanson appeared in court this morning dressed in traditional Muslim clothing to face the charges stemming from a confrontation with a Baldwin police officer back in September.
Police had received a tip that a masked gang was loitering in a known trouble spot near the railroad tracks along West Carson Street. When officers arrived, they found Swanson along with her husband and two children dressed in clothing required by their Muslim religion and picking flowers along the tracks.
Swanson reportedly got into a shouting match with the officer and was charged with disorderly conduct.
At a hearing this morning, though, the judge dropped the charge — saying that while police were doing their job investigating the report, both sides need to be more sensitive to the other.
“This is what we rely on the police to take care of,” ACLU Attorney James Love told KDKA-TV, “but then when you get there and you find out that the facts are not as they have been reported, that you are, in fact, encountering husband and wife and two little kids picking wildflowers — then the suspicion dissipates. In fact, it dissipates to about nothing.”
The ACLU attorney says Swanson suffers from an anxiety disorder and has been stopped by police in the area on other occasions while wearing the traditional Muslim clothing.
While Baldwin police had no comment on today’s hearing, Chief Michael Scott told our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Swanson “was indignant about being stopped, even though they were on private property… It wasn’t profiling.”
Chief Scott also told the PG that his officers do receive diversity training.