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This profile was last updated on 4/13/12  and contains information from public web pages.

Steve Armbruster

Wrong Steve Armbruster?

Police Officer

Phone: (717) ***-****  HQ Phone
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
2986 North Second Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110
United States

 
Background

Employment History

Web References
Steve Armbruster of ...
www.tnonline.com, 13 April 2012 [cached]
Steve Armbruster of Lehighton, a police officer at Kutztown University, was disciplined after refusing to remove peaceful campus demonstrators. Steve Armbruster of Lehighton, a police officer at Kutztown University, was disciplined after refusing to remove peaceful campus demonstrators.
...
It involved Steve Armbruster of Lehighton.
Armbruster works as a police officer with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
...
"The university president asked that they be removed from campus," Armbruster said. "They didn't break the law. It's a public school, so they didn't need any permits. Anybody could set up a display in the quad and talk about anything they chose."
The Kutztown University police chief told Armbruster to arrest the demonstrators. "I told him that I can't arrest them because they hadn't broken any laws-but it was so politically charged with the university president being there. I left and they arrested the demonstrators."
"They tried to discipline me," Armbruster said. "The issue from my point of view was Freedom Of Speech. I didn't care if they were left-wing or right-wing or whatever-it didn't matter. As a police officer, I took an oath to defend everyone's Constitutional rights."
Armbruster sued the university with support from the Alliance Defense Fund and the ACLU. He currently continues in his job, as he patiently nears retirement.
His court case attracted the attention of the Oath Keepers, a group organizing at the time. "They stand for protecting the rights of U.S. citizens by supporting members of the police and the military if they choose to disobey unlawful orders," Ambruster explained.
The Oath Keepers flew Armbruster to Las Vegas, where he was presented with the Police Officer of the Year Award. Excited to be among like-minded souls, Ambruster became involved in the Oath Keepers and worked his way to become the Pennsylvania chapter president. He is currently on its Board of Directors. "We have over 100,000 members that are either active military, retired military, or members of law enforcement," he said.
"The Oath Keepers are not a Tea Party group," he explained. "It's a group of libertarian-minded people-Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. They're against the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act-laws that allow people to be arrested and detained if they are suspected to be involved in terror. People should have "due process". These acts took the rules of war and extended them to homeland America."
In November 2011, Armbruster ran as a Republican for the office of Carbon County Sheriff-and lost. He feels the system needs to be changed. "The politics in Carbon County is not about ideas, it's about people who have established their political dynasties," Armbruster said. He believes that Carbon County has long-term politicians, and extended families in both political parties that make it difficult for outsiders to get elected. He feels that the county lacks diversity.
Ambruster said that if he were he elected Sheriff of Carbon County, he would refuse to enforce any law that would violate the rights of its citizens.
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"Take foreclosure as an example," Armbruster noted, "A sheriff just can't rubber stamp a foreclosure.
In April 2007 Steven ...
www.thenewamerican.com, 7 Feb 2011 [cached]
In April 2007 Steven Armbruster, a campus police officer for Pennsylvania's Kutztown University, was on duty when 15 members of the Philadelphia-based Christian group Repent America came to campus for part of its peaceful "Pro-Life Evangelism Tour," during which the ministry visited several venues to engage in dialogue with students and others concerning abortion and other important cultural issues.
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"Armbruster understood that this would involve arresting or threatening to arrest the rest of the group upon whom the protesters had descended, though he saw no evidence of disorderly conduct among the members of the Christian group," continued the ADF report.
But when Armbruster explained to his chief that what he was ordering would violate the group's civil rights, "Mioskie immediately relieved Armbruster of his duties and told him to leave the scene while other officers executed his orders."
Ultimately, a court dismissed the charges against members of the Christian group who had been arrested.
Unfortunately, however, Armbruster was suspended without pay for five working days and warned that he could be fired from his job if he refused to obey an order in the future - even if the order was unlawful. Additionally, a disciplinary letter placed in Armbruster's file jeopardizes future job promotions.
Marcavage told WND that Armbruster "stood up for our right to speak freely in a public forum on a public campus.
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Randall Wenger, an attorney who is representing the case with the ADF, noted that Officer Armbruster "understood that police officers are called on to acknowledge and respect" the constitutional guarantees of American citizens, "including Christian pro-life advocates, who have the same First Amendment-protected rights to express their beliefs as everyone else.
The Police Law Blog: February 2011
www.policelawblog.com, 1 Feb 2011 [cached]
Steve Armbruster, a Kutztown University police officer filed an appeal from an adverse decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in Armbruster v. Cavanaugh, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22288 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 9, 2010) regarding his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against university officials and the police chief of his department on the basis of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 
The case essentially involved a student protest where the individual students had engaged in a peaceful protest, and counter-protest where the students involved had followed officer requests to move away from university buildings.  Subsequently, some students got upset at the political issues being debated and complained to university personnel.
As a result, the university president requested that Officer Armbruster to "push" the protesters off campus.  Officer Armbruster did not respond to the university president's request to do so and the request then went to the Chief of Police.  The Chief of Police for the department then observed the situation and ordered Officer Armbruster, again, to push the protesters off campus because of his perception that they were engaged in disorderly conduct. 
In the officer's view, the protesters had not been acting in a disorderly manner and objected to the Chief's orders, claiming that they would violate the civil rights of the protesters and might subject himself to personal liability.  The Chief of Police then relieved Officer Armbruster of his duties and eventually placed him on administrative leave.  Finally, Officer Armbruster was given a 5-day suspension as a result of the objections he lodged. 
Officer Armbruster then filed suit alleging that he had been subject to violations by the department of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.  The U.S. District Court, after hearing the claims, dismissed them, causing the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 
LEGAL ISSUES
In the appeal, Officer Armbruster conceded his first claim, based on the First Amendment, but had appealed the dismissal of his claims under the Fourteenth Amendment.  This claim by Officer Armbruster had alleged a violation of his right to refuse to obey an unconstitutional order after he was ordered to arrest or threaten to arrest demonstrators for disorderly conduct.
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