DA talks to Channel 11 about video of arrest at PrideFest



PITTSBURGH - Channel 11’s video of a police officer arresting a teenager at PrideFest earlier this month was used during a meeting of the Pittsburgh Police Citizen’s Review Board.

The Citizen’s Review Board has decided to move forward with an investigation into the officer, who has been put on desk duty following the incident.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala told Channel 11’s Rick Earle that he is waiting on the results of the city’s investigation into 19-year-old Ariel Lawther’s arrest.

He praised Channel 11 News for posting the entire video of the incident, and not just a single clip that may not tell the whole story.

“I think you guys at Channel 11 showed the entire four minutes of what happened. What concerned me initially, and I was away, was that maybe 10 or 15 seconds of that video, an edited portion of that video, found its way to TV. I think a lot of people were concerned and I certainly was concerned about that.  But we are looking at it,” Zappala said.

According to Zappala, the officer said he was attempting to break up a fight when Lawther attacked him and started hitting and kicking him.

The officer said he pulled her away from the crowd, punched her in the stomach and took her to the ground to handcuff her.

Lawther was charged with assault and resisting arrest. According to the criminal complaint, she later apologized and said she didn’t know he was a police officer.

“I don't know if that conduct is unbecoming. His response to the use of violence against him, that's a question of policy, and that's why I'm saying I have to do some work on this,” Zappala said.

Lawther is set for a preliminary hearing next week.


June 17, 2014 -- Investigation launched after video of PrideFest arrest prompts outrage

June 16, 2014 -- Officer investigated for forceful gay pride arrest