Dave Ruttenberg, like many a good citizen, is willing to provide information to law enforcement when they encounter information regarding a possible crime. That’s a critical part of the partnership between citizens and law enforcement, as police officers don’t hear and see everything that happens. They rely on citizens reporting information to help them start investigations and locate suspects.
Back in 1994, Dave had one of these oppportunities. He was dating a woman who had a sister, fourteen years old at the time, who herself was dating someone who turned out to be a drug dealer. This woman and her sister would tell harrowing stories about this guy moving pound after pound of marijuana through his apartment, and a money laundering scheme that involved shipping sportscars to Mexico with drug proceeds. David didn’t know this guy but was sickened by the stories. And he did what we would hope any good citizen would do with this information. He contacted a Manassas Park police officer by the name of Karen Walker and passed on what he knew.
A signed affadavit explains what happened next:
Karen Walker a Manassas Park Police Officer came over to my house on Scott Drive in 1994. She told my little sister [name redacted] that she knew who told on her boyfriend Pedro for dealing drugs. She said that she wouldn’t tell her directly, but he was a wealthy business man who owned a shop in Manassas Park shopping center. When I heard her say this, I knew who she was talking about. So I went and told David [Ruttenberg] what was said and told him he needed to leave town for his own safety.
Soon after, Pedro Cepeda and his co-conspirator Juan Contreras were arrested. Over 100 pounds of marijuana were seized during the arrest.
There are several theories that could explain what happened. One, the Manassas Park Police Department could possibly be, or have been at the time, corrupt, and were involved in drug dealing, and this was an attempt to supress citizen informants. Or it could be that Dave Ruttenberg was someone they wanted to make life difficult for, and even though he was doing the right thing it was a convenient opportunity to try to drive him out of the area. Few things motivate one to move out of town more than the prospect of convicted drug dealers wirth a grudge. I’m pretty surprised that faced with this, Dave Ruttenberg chose to stand his ground.
Provided that all of this is true, and it checks out by me, this is strong evidence to suggest that of all the dangers that decent citizens in Manassas park face, the Manassas Park Police Department may pose the greatest danger. Not only are they apparently willing to put citizen’s lives at risk, but it is extremely difficult to defend yourself from criminals who can wield the authority of the law.
Tick, tock. Time is running out for Manassas Park officials to start cleaning up this mess before someone else comes in and does it for them. The clock is running…
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