During the August 15, 2020 “Civil Saturdays” demonstration in the city, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police arrested a protester at around 5 p.m. in Oakland.
Matthew Cartier, 25, of Pittsburgh was subsequently charged with Failure to Disperse, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstruction of Highways and Other Public Passageways.
Cartier was arrested by Pittsburgh Police officers in plainclothes, driving an unmarked police vehicle bearing municipal government license plates. Officers were wearing their police badges and identified themselves as Pittsburgh Police when they arrested Cartier. The arrest was made away from the main body of the protest which was stopped at an intersection about a block away.
On Sunday, August 16, the Mayor’s Office and Public Safety held a news conference to address questions about the manner in which the arrest took place.
During the news conference, Sergeant Donald Mitchell with the Pittsburgh Police Civil Affairs Unit, explained that Cartier was warned that he would be arrested if he did not stop unnecessarily blocking an intersection where there were no protesters.
Mitchell said, “He refused, not on one occasion but on several occasions, saying that he does not listen to police.”
Cartier was also earlier warned by another Motorcyle Unit officer to stop stepping in front of vehicles and directing traffic during the protest.
Commander Ed Trapp, who heads the Special Deployment Division, explained why police effectuated what he called “a low-visibility” arrest of Cartier.
“When high-visibility stuff takes place with these marches, it tends to attract a crowd and incite things further,” said Trapp.
Pittsburgh Public Safety fully supports the right of peaceful assembly afforded to all Americans under the First Amendment. It will continue to balance those rights with the safety of all citizens during ongoing demonstrations in Pittsburgh.
Mayor Peduto issued a statement today banning the use of such tactics during peaceful demonstrations. His full statement is below.
We are currently experiencing degradation or outage of Twilio services which are impacting 311, Finance, OneStopPGH, Service Desk, DOMI, DPW, Environmental Services, Mayor’s Office, Recycling.
We are currently working on this issue and will announce when its been rectified.