PITTSBURGH – It has been almost a year since a protest in East Liberty ended when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd. Police said people were damaging businesses and throwing items at officers.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has called for a full third-party investigation into how police dispersed the group. The Municipal Investigations Office, the Citizen Police Review Commission and other groups have been asked to look into the situation.
“What struck me the most was that the problems we had to solve are always the same,” activist Phelan Barreiro said.
The president of the NAACP said there is still a long way to go.
“There is still a great deal of mistrust of law enforcement in black and brown communities,” Kenneth Huston said. “I’m not saying we should fund the police because I have a problem with this story. I think this is the wrong story to broadcast.
The Municipal Investigations Office is still investigating what happened in East Liberty. The Citizens Police Review Board said it tried to get approval from an independent consultant to investigate immediately after the events, but city council did not approve it until February of this year.
“With the support of some of our community partners, especially Mr. Stevens who wrote a letter approving and encouraging this decision, it was finally approved,” said Beth Pittinger of the review panel.
The council hopes to have a preliminary report by the end of the month.