by Mark Kramer
On the sixth day of Black Lives Matter protests in Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto outlined an agenda and series of specific actions for police reform, some of which, he said, he expects to be enacted in the coming weeks. In a statement Thursday and during an online panel, part of the Office of Equity Series on Equity and Public Safety, Peduto and law enforcement officials discussed a series of policies at both local and state levels.
These calls for reform in Pittsburgh come at a time when the movement to defund police departments is growing stronger in the U.S. and demonstrators all over the world have been marching for justice in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 26. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder in Floyd’s death; three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
The mayor’s announcement also comes on the heels of violence between police and protesters on Monday, June 1, in East Liberty. On Wednesday, mayor Peduto said he wants a “full, third-party” investigation.
During a press conference Thursday, Peduto stated that “apparently” the use of tear gas on protesters had not been approved by commanding enforcement officers. In a letter to the Office of Municipal Investigations, Peduto outlined a long series of questions and concerns about Monday’s violence.
According to the mayor, Pittsburgh is, along with “a handful of cities” around the country, endorsing an “8 Can’t Wait” campaign that includes specific action points such as clearly defining force and weapons to be used for specific scenarios, explicitly prohibiting chokeholds and strangleholds, and requiring officers to “exhaust all other reasonable alternatives” before using deadly force.
Protesters gathered Downtown for the sixth day of Black Lives Matter protests in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
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