Former Officer Convicted Of Police Brutality Preparing To Run For Borough Council

Former Officer Convicted Of Police Brutality Preparing To Run For Borough Council


A former police sergeant convicted in the 2009 beating of a prisoner is preparing to run for borough council.

Records in the Beaver County Bureau of Elections show that Richard Heitzenrater has signed out petition forms to be placed on the ballot for Ambridge Borough Council. Heitzenrater was appointed to the town’s Civil Service Commission last November.

In November of 2010, Heitzenrater was sentenced by a federal judge to serve 6 months in a halfway-house, 6 months on house arrest, and 6 months of probation for Civil Rights violations and destruction of evidence to cover up a 2009 beating of a man in police custody.

Court records show Heitzenrater entered the police station, turned off the lights, and then beat David A. Baker, 40 of Ambridge. Baker was being detained at the Ambridge Borough Police Station on accusations he had been intoxicated and urinated on a sidewalk within sight of Heitzenrater’s granddaughter.

Police Lieutenant Robert Kuzma was sentenced to one year of probation on charges he helped Heitzenrater destroy video evidence of the beating.

Ambridge Borough settled a subsequent lawsuit filed against the town by David Baker for a reported $150,000.


Other Headlines

Local Gun Shop Owner’s Son Admits To Stealing Handguns To Trade For Heroin A local gun shop owner's son has pleaded guilty in federal court to felony charges after he admitted to stealing over 50 handguns from his father's st...
The Things We Are Thankful For In 2015 Each Thanksgiving holiday, the Beaver Countian reaches out to a handful of elected officials and community leaders, along with other notable residents...
US Drug Enforcement Administration: Beaver County Official Didn’t Return Our Phone Calls Beaver County is one of just five counties in Pennsylvania that failed to cooperate with a United States Drug Enforcement Administration's 67-county s...

About The Author

Profile photo of John Paul

John Paul is a Beaver County native and the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.


  1. OhBrother

    He’ll get elected. Remember Officer Apple? The sheeple of LosAmbridge get exactly what they vote for. Just look who’s running that ghetto now.

  2. Nikki Parsons

    I’ve known Richard Heitzenrater LITERALLY all of my life, and what he was charged and convicted with was so out of character that it makes my head hurt. In my opinion, he was one of the best officers on the Ambridge department. There had never been an incident like that involving him before OR after that one in 2009. That being said, I believe this man has paid his debt to society, and therefore should be allowed to run for council. I mean really, look at Bridgewater….they had a murderer on their council for decades…..Mr. Heitzenrater has paid the penalty for his actions, so I see nothing wrong with him being able to participate in the government system for the town in which he resides…..just my opinion.

  3. the hub

    @Nikki Parsons … Lol it makes your head hurt lol, you must be miserable cause your knees must be hurting tooooooo

  4. Butterfly

    Just saying, what he did was wrong, but put yourself in his shoes for the one hour.
    “Your grandkid has been exposed to a drunk man exposing himself, who knows what else he may of done, Ambridge has too many perverts that have rights to live here. For that one hour, a split second, just saying what would you have done???”
    BUT……. he paid his debt to society and got sentenced by a Federal Judge and “DID” his time. Now let the man and his family live their lives. The Borough will vote. He had approximately 262,800 fantastic hours of service as a police man and the 1 hour of his indiscretion. Pretty good ratio.. Also why always bring “his” history up? Do you agree with people to urinate in front of You??? I am sure all of the others running for some type of office have something in their past that is bad, as with the people, writing all of this stuff of things that happened in the past and remember he did his time and paid back to the society. Good thing we have a God to judge us, not all you individuals!!!!

  5. Profile photo of joe15003

    all I can say is wow…yes you can let him run but if we the people vote him in after his abuse of power, what do you expect him to do on council?

  6. Profile photo of accordingtome

    When things can’t get anymore ridiculous just wait a day or two in Beaver County and something will come along that makes you scratch your head and say wtf. The only people to blame for what goes on in Beaver County aren’t the people holding office but rather those who vote for them. George is a nut…but the majority gave him a badge. This guy is an abuser….will the majority give him a pair of brass knuckles to wear at council meetings? I guess we’ll find out.

  7. Bev Hages

    No way on hell should he be elected to a public office.. A lot of people have done the crime/ did their time, for things a whole lot less.. He was a police officer/ suppose to uphold the law.. He took the law into his own hands.. This is ridiculous !

  8. Profile photo of accordingtome

    @butterfly – in his shoes I would not have done what he did. Should we look at murderers or rapists and say what great people they are “except for that one hour” when they raped or killed somebody. A convicted felon spends the rest of their life being judged because of their conviction….he will do the same (and he should). He showed the has the propensity to snap….so there are no guarantees that he won’t do it again. NOT an attribute that I want in a elected leader.

  9. Profile photo of buzzkill

    Funny that someone should bring up former Police Officer Appel from Ambridge. He is a current Ambridge School Board member and has served several terms, but not consecutively. Appel was arrested years ago during one of his terms for an alcohol fueled rampage where he smashed windows from cars and businesses in Ambridge one night. This story was reported in the BC Times, but quickly disappeared. Now you can’t even find the story in the archives. From what I understand, the police report has disappeared too at the borough building. Good thing some people saved the cut out of the original Times story and circulate it through town once in while. For some reason though people still elect this guy to school board.

  10. Tim bruno

    Heitzy is a string bean pussy go ahead say your going to crack my head now that you ain’t a cop i will put your face were your feet are try me


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *