The nation saw another Saturday marked by rallies decrying police brutality and racism, and Pittsburgh was no exception.

A large crowd gathered in Bakery Square Saturday afternoon for a Black Lives Matter sit-in on this eighth day of protest. 

Pittsburgh police were present and, as the crowd that grew up to 1,000 people moved down Penn Avenue toward the intersection of Centre and Negley avenues at about 5:30 p.m., officers moved ahead of them to clear streets.

The intersection of Centre and Negley is a scene of controversy after a confrontation on Monday, June 1, between police and a crowd of people. There were several reports by those in attendance that stated that police used tear gas and rubber bullets, and injuries and side effects they experienced appeared to match the accounts. However, that evening, Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh Police Commander Jason Lando said police had used “smoke, not gas.”

Peduto has since stated that he had based his comments off of inaccurate police reports. 

What happened at the East Liberty intersection that evening is now the subject of two Peduto-prompted investigations by the Office of Municipal Investigations and the Citizen Police Review Board — along with the ACLU, NAACP and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Also on Saturday, Allegheny County Council member Bethany Hallam announced on Twitter that she and fellow council member Olivia Bennett would propose at Tuesday’s council meeting an ordinance to ban the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades and bean bag rounds in the county. The ordinance, as proposed, states that although these tactics are deemed less lethal than traditional firearms, they can cause death or permanent injury or aggravate pre-existing conditions, like asthma.

Below are some of the scenes from Saturday’s demonstration in Pittsburgh:

Protesters at a sit-in in Bakery Square in Pittsburgh for Civil Saturdays on June 6. 2020. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
Black Lives Matter protesters at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh during a sit-in demonstration on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)
People who attended a June 6 sit-in at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh chalk names of those killed by police violence. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
People who attended a June 6 sit-in at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh chalk names of those killed by police violence. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
Bakery Square in Pittsburgh during a sit-in demonstration on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)
A person drumming at a protest near Bakery Square on Saturday. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
Citizens holding signs while marching in a protest near Bakery Square on June 6, 2020.(Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
A woman honks her horn and raises her fist in support of people marching in a protest near Bakery Square on June 6, 2020 (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
(Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
A person at a June 6 protest with the names of people killed by police violence written on an American flag. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)
(Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)
A crowd of up to 1,000 people marched to the intersection of Centre and Negley avenues and sat in protest of racism and police brutality on Saturday, June, 6, 2020. (Photo by Alexis Lai)

Continuing coverage of civil unrest, anti-racism and policing in Pittsburgh (latest at top):

Reach PublicSource managing editor Halle Stockton at halle@publicsource.org.

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