Apology sought for mistaken arrest of Washington rapper

June 2, 2014
A screenshot from the music video, "You Don't Know Me."

A Washington School Board member Monday called on the district and city police to issue a public apology to a former student in the district who was mistakenly arrested last month for dropping $3,000 worth of cocaine in the high school based on a review of surveillance video.

Director John Campbell Sr. said investigators should have known to review more of the video at the time of the May 23 arrest of Zane Ryan Zebrasky, something that was done later, and it revealed a drastically different scenario that led to the criminal case being withdrawn.

“It was on Facebook, Twitter. What do we say to the Zebrasky family?” Campbell said.

Police were initially given a clip of the video that made it appear as if Zebrasky, 24, of Canonsburg, dropped the 32.5-gram bag of cocaine while walking down a stairwell in the high school. He was working in the building at the time with special needs students for an outside contractor.

A longer look of the video indicated the cocaine was thrown down the stairwell by an individual not captured on camera, leading police to withdraw drug possession and other charges against Zebrasky the following week.

Superintendent Roberta P. DiLorenzo said investigators were still reviewing surveillance video “frame by frame” in an attempt to determine who was responsible for bringing the cocaine into the building.

Another director, Marsha Pleta, said she believed someone should be held accountable for the “horrific thing that happened to this family.

“We should somehow be able to clear his record,” Pleta said.

Directors then indicated they would continue the discussion in an executive session.

Zebrasky, who is an aspiring rap singer using the stage name “Z Breez,” could not be reached Monday night.

The record of Zebrasky’s arrest remained Monday on Pennsylvania’s online court records, however, his case indicated all charges were withdrawn.

His mother, Kelley Zebrasky, who is Washington Park Elementary principal, said she had no comment on the discussion at the board meeting because she wasn’t in attendance.

Washington Mayor Brenda Davis also could not be reached.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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