Independent consultant to review protests held in Pittsburgh following George Floyd’s death

PITTSBURGH — It’s been almost one year since a protest in East Liberty ended with police using tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a crowd. Police said people were damaging businesses and throwing things at the officers.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called for a full third-party investigation into how police dispersed the group. The Office of Municipal Investigations, the Citizens Police Review Board and other groups were asked to look into the situation.

“The thing that sticks with me the most is that the issues we were out there to fix are still the same,” said activist Phelan Barreiro.

The state president of the NAACP said there is still a long way to go.

“There’s still a great distrust of law enforcement in Black and brown communities,” said Kenneth Huston. “I am not saying that we should defund the police, because I have a problem with that narrative. I think that’s the wrong narrative to put out there.”

The Office of Municipal Investigations is still looking into what happened in East Liberty. The Citizens Police Review Board said it tried to get approval for an independent consultant to investigate immediately following the events, but the city council did not approve it until February of this year.

“With the support from some of our community partners, particularly Mr. Stevens who wrote a letter endorsing it and encouraging that this move on, it was ultimately approved,” said Beth Pittinger with the review board.

The board is hoping to have a preliminary report by the end of the month.