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Police: Cited Bystander Got Too Close To Scene Of Possible Armed Suspect's Arrest

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Kimberly Bracken rides her bike regularly on the North Side, but Saturday's ride was anything but regular.

That's when she spotted Pittsburgh Police chasing a young African American male in the vicinity of Allegheny General Hospital.

"I saw the young man on the ground surrounded by many, many cops," said Bracken. "I was just walking by. I understood there was a police incident, I didn't want to interfere with that, I just wanted to observe."

She wanted to watch the interaction as it unfolded because of the general distrust between police and some communities. Bracken had no idea why the suspect was being apprehended.

"I wanted to be a witness," she said. "I wanted to be sure that the teenager was treated like a human being. I do not know what he did. I don't know what brought him there and that needs to be address, whatever happened."

Police say the suspect was a juvenile and that he had been seen with a gun. They had a wider perimeter than usual because a weapon was involved.

They ordered Bracken to leave the area because of the threat of the weapon.

She says it was how they did it that bothered her. In a Facebook post, Bracken says an officer screamed at her, grabbed her and frisked her, eventually citing her for not leaving the area.

"It was a bit paralyzing to be approached in that manner. I am not sure why being an observer was not allowed at that point," she said.

Police say the rules are simple. If an officer tells you to leave the scene, you have an obligation to do so.

Pittsburgh Police spokesperson Sonya Toler said Bracken appeared to close to the scene for comfort.

"The officer was concerned for her safety," said Toler. "She was close to the scene where there was a live weapon."

Now it's up to the Office of Municipal Investigations to figure out if that's correct. It is now handling an investigation into the case.

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