By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While cigar store owner Andrew Lee testified, Zone 1 Pittsburgh Police Commander RaShall Brackney was sequestered behind a glass door, prohibited to having face-to-face contact with Lee, speaking through a spokesperson.

“We’re just keeping our distance from him so he cannot feel threatened,” said Warner Macklin.

In court papers, Lee says Brackney told his lawyer she would do Lee physical harm — and telling KDKA-TV in an interview that Brackney targeted his business with citations and eventually had it shut down.

But on Thursday, more than dozen residents led by City Council President Darlene Harris called the business a nuisance and said Lee had brought his troubles upon himself.

“A living hell,” Harris said. “The place was open from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings. They were accosted by the patrons of this place, blatant drug activity.”

Lee blamed the problems on a former tenant who ran a problem after-hours club upstairs, saying he would run a more responsible club.

Sheehan: “Well, there were problems there.”

Lee: “There were problems.”

Sheehan: “You admit problems?”

Lee: “Absolutely.”

Sheehan: “So why do you say this was the action caused by Commander Brackney when all these people are out here.”

Lee: “I didn’t say that, you said that.”

Sheehan: “You said that she targeted you.”

Lee: “I said that she told my lawyer that she was going to do harm to me.”

Brackney left without testifying.

Sheehan: “Commander anything to say about these allegations?”

Brackney: “All of my media will be handled by Warner Macklin or my attorney Tina Miller. Thank you.”

A decision by the zoning board is not expected for several months, but it seems clear that the legal battle between Andrew Lee and RaShall Brackney will be escalating before that.

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