Pittsburgh Public Safety and Pittsburgh Police have stated repeatedly that officers will protect citizens’ First Amendment rights. The Civil Affairs Unit will continue to attempt to communicate with protest organizers and Cycle Units will continue to close roadways around protesters in order to keep everyone safe.
However, the actions of a few protesters last weekend were unacceptable. Police are working with our law enforcement partners, including the US Attorney’s Office and FBI Pittsburgh, to investigate. Part of that process is collecting video evidence and attempting to interview witnesses. If laws were broken, charges will follow.
Public Safety understand the desire to protest and will continue to respect and protect that right.
But the public expects this department to uphold the law and we will follow that mandate.
“People have the right to dine in public without being accosted and without vulgarities being thrown at them,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “What we saw this weekend was assault and battery. It was embarrassing. The vast majority of the protests in Pittsburgh have been peaceful, but this weekend was anything but peaceful.”
“As a native Pittsburgher, what I saw this weekend was disturbing and cannot continue,” Police Chief Scott Schubert said. “Sadly, the protesters’ message gets erased when you have certain organizers inciting violence, which is what a handful of them are doing. It creates a dangerous and volatile situation. Our goal, now and always, is to maintain safety for everyone, and that includes protesters, residents, visitors, business owners and patrons and our police officers who are working under difficult conditions to serve the public.”