PITTSBURGH — A veteran Pittsburgh Police detective who admitted to a substance abuse problem after a bar fight is back on the job. Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle learned that Michelle Auge returned to the force after a hearing before the public safety director.
The public safety department declined to comment on her reinstatement.
Last fall, Auge, who was off duty at the time, was involved in an altercation with a woman she knew at a bar in Brookline.
Investigators said surveillance footage from the bar shows Auge being attacked and hit in the face. Police said Auge suffered severe swelling and marks consistent with being strangled.
Police charged the woman who allegedly attacked Auge with aggravated assault and retaliation against a witness. Police said the woman was upset because Auge had investigated her son.
Target 11 discovered the charges against the alleged assailant were withdrawn unexpectedly by the district attorney’s office in January.
We spoke with the woman’s attorney after the charges were dismissed in January. He said the incident did not occur exactly the way police said.
“They did fight but she was getting her leg bit and trying to get someone off her and the next thing you know she’s charged with three felonies,” attorney Joe Horowitz said.
Police also charged the woman’s husband and daughter, who allegedly got involved in the fight when it moved outside the bar. Those charges were dismissed, too.
The district attorney’s office would only say that the complaints were dropped after consulting with Auge and her attorney.
Target 11 learned that Auge, who was injured in a 2013 shooting that left her partner partially paralyzed, went to police supervisors after the bar fight and admitted to a drug problem.
Her attorney told Target 11 in January that Auge sought treatment. Initially, she was initially placed on administrative leave, but sources tell Target 11 that the chief recommended firing her.
She appealed that recommendation to the public safety director, and after a hearing, he decided she should return to duty.
It is unclear why the public safety director moved to reinstate Auge, but Target 11 was told she was placed on what is referred to as “track 3,” which means if she gets in any more trouble, she will be terminated automatically.
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