Groups gather at Pittsburgh City-County Building demanding Black lives be protected

PITTSBURGH — On Tuesday afternoon the Alliance for Police Accountability, 1Hood Media, TransYOUniting, Black Lives Matter Pittsburgh and SW PA, and supporters rallied at the City-County Building. The group of nearly one hundred demonstrators had three overarching demands: for Black Lives to be protected, defended and supported.

The relatives of victims of violence were also present, including the father of Peter Spencer, the Pittsburgh man killed on a Venango County camping trip, and the family of Amariey Lej, the transwoman killed in Wilkinsburg earlier this year.

“I will put all of my faith in finding out what happened to my son and justice will be served,” said Conrad Spencer, Peter Spencer’s father.

The group chanting his son’s name also demanded his case be handed over to the state attorney general.

Lej’s family reminded the crowd that Black transwomen’s lives matter despite statistics that show they are often disproportionally impacted by violence.

“Amariey was 19 years old when she was violently taken from her family and this earth on Jan. 1 of this year,” said Erin Perry, a relative of the family.

Advocates said in the case of Jim Rodgers, the man arrested and tased by Pittsburgh Police over a bicycle, they want the city’s district attorney to bring charges.

“Jim Rodgers wouldn’t be dead if he was not tased that’s not an accident,” said Brandi Fisher with the Alliance for Police Accountability.

In regard to the action they want to see in the Rodgers case, Fisher had this to say: “Standing behind the fact that police cannot bring those reports he can bring charges without those reports.”

While the two-hour demonstration was heavy and often somber, organizers ended the event with dance and chants of “Black lives matter.”