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Mayor Peduto shares ‘serious concerns’ with Pittsburgh police tactics during arrest of protester

PITTSBURGH — After Saturday’s protest in Pittsburgh ended in a controversial arrest by plainclothes police in an unmarked van, city leaders addressed what happened.

Police said Matthew Cartier, 25, was arrested Saturday evening and charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting traffic following a Black Lives Matter protest through the streets of Shadyside and Oakland.

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Public Safety officials said during a press conference Sunday that they’re frustrated with protest organizers for not communicating with police and putting people in danger.

However, after video and photos of Cartier’s arrest spread on social media, many were calling for answers regarding the tactics used by police.

One of the people who shared concerns was Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

“I found out about the arrest minutes after I happened, and I have serious concerns over the tactics utilized yesterday,” Peduto said during the press conference.

Peduto said the idea of a “pop-out” arrest deserves an examination, including whether it’s appropriate to use at all, whether it should be used during a protest and, if it is, when and why.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” he said.

Police officials said Sunday the unmarked vehicles and tactics were not unusual for the circumstances.

“The officers arrived in an unmarked vehicle cause that’s their vehicle,” said Ed Trapp, Pittsburgh police commander. “They were in plain clothes because we wanted to keep low visibility. They got out, they had Pittsburgh Police badges hanging on the front. They had shirts on that said Pittsburgh Police, and they identified themselves as Pittsburgh Police.”

Peduto asked public safety leaders to look into the circumstances of the arrest.

It was an opportunity, he said, “to go through the different operations and techniques and tactics that could have been utilized and those that were.”

Cartier was released on recognizance bond after being arraigned Sunday.