PITTSBURGH — Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has learned that the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board is considering issuing a subpoena to force the city of Pittsburgh to turn over documents they contend may shed critical information on three recent incidents involving officers who allegedly failed to follow orders.
One of those was the funeral in Brighton Heights in October where officers were requested because of fears of violence, but they didn’t show up. Target 11 first broke this story the night of the shooting and also reported that two officers are facing disciplinary action for failing to attend the funeral.
The three troubling incidents, according to the executive director of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, were of Pittsburgh Police officers allegedly failing to follow orders.
The first occurred back in April, when Target 11 exposed for the first time two bicycle officers falsifying time cards for patrols they never did. The city fired the officers. A supervisor is also facing disciplinary action.
In August, officers were requested at a youth football game, but they did not go. Shots were fired near the game. No one was injured in that shooting, but the city vowed to do better monitoring these types of event when requested.
Then in October, police were requested to monitor the funeral of a shooting victim in Brighton Heights. Officers never made it, and two teenagers opened fire outside the funeral, wounding five people. Two officers are facing disciplinary action for allegedly failing to follow orders to go to the funeral. But some sources told Target 11 that the officers were given permission to leave the area. The acting chief implemented changes to make sure that all funerals and other events of shooting victims are now attended by police officers.
And the Citizen Police Review Board has also launched an investigation into the failed police responses.
“The bigger question is why do we have three incidents happen in a relatively short time that involve officers doing what they choose to do rather than what they’re directed to do. Where’s the supervision?” posited CPRB Executive Director Beth Pittinger.
In an effort to get answers, the board in November requested documents that outline the training and grooming officers receive when promoted to supervisor.
Pittinger said the board has a lot of questions about the process.
“How are they prepared, leadership ethics? How did they become comfortable knowing that they’re rising out of their peer group and now they’re going to supervise them? So how does that happen? We have ideas about it but we don’t have the information,” said Pittinger.
Pittinger also raised concerns about consistency in investigations. In the incidents involving the bicycle officers, a supervisor is being disciplined, but in the funeral shooting, there’s no indication that any supervisors are facing any disciplinary action.
Pittinger said she asked the city for the training information on Nov. 15, but the city has yet to provide anything.
She’s now considering issuing a subpoena.
Earle asked Pittinger, “Did they indicate they plan to give it to you or did you get any response at all?”
“The law department is reviewing our request. I have not issued a subpoena for it, but I think this week would be the appropriate time. We tried to give them enough time and notice that we want it,” replied Pittinger.
Earle reached out to the city for an update on the status of the information requested by the CPRB.
A spokesperson told Earle that the Law Department is still reviewing the request.
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