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:
Continuing coverage of civil unrest, anti-racism and policing in Pittsburgh (latest at top):
- As Black Lives Matter marches go on, Pittsburgh launches a task force to find “people intent on causing destruction”
- Gov. Wolf, Mayor Peduto call for police reform on the sixth day of Black Lives Matter protests in Pittsburgh
- When we do nothing in the face of racism and brutality, we represent Amy Cooper and Derek Chauvin. We are complicit.
- Police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets in East Liberty against protesters of Black Lives Matter march; 20 arrested
- Governor addresses weekend protests across the state
- Pittsburgh is under curfew order after peaceful protests over George Floyd’s killing ‘get hijacked’ and turn violent