Crime

Lancaster Bureau of Police via AP

Police say man driving a stolen truck carrying a load of white paint crashed into a number of cars and flipped the vehicle, spilling the buckets all over the road and the suspect, covered head-to-toe in paint, fled but returned as police arrived.

Police in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, say the man shoved an officer, and as they tried to handcuff him, he was so slippery that he got out of the cuffs and attempted to flee again. He was caught and secured, but officers were also covered in paint as a result of the struggle.

Kathy Willens / AP

Pennsylvania earned a "D" in a study that grades states based on the way they handle criminal cases from the time defendants are arrested to the time they’re found guilty or innocent. "D" was the average grade nationally.

 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Authorities have released the name of a man shot by a Pittsburgh police officer after officials allege he and another officer were fired upon over the weekend.

Allegheny County police said two Pittsburgh officers on foot patrol in the Homewood neighborhood shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday were fired upon by a man who emerged from behind a building. An officer returned fire then and when they found the suspect again.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A violent crime committed with a firearm in Pennsylvania holds a mandatory five-year sentence tacked onto any other convictions for the same incident. State Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny County) wants to amend this law to make sure those sentences are served one after another.

"What's happening is, the judges are running them concurrently instead of consecutively, and the [additional] five years don't mean anything," DeLuca said.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday the federal government will use Pittsburgh-area expertise to step up its fight against opioid-related crimes online.

State police say at least five people were killed in a shooting at a Pennsylvania car wash.

WPXI-TV reports the shooting occurred around 2:45 a.m. Sunday in Melcroft.

Melcroft is about 55 miles (89 kilometers) southeast of Pittsburgh

The victims were identified only as three men and two women. At least one other person was wounded and was taken to a hospital, but further details on that person's condition were not immediately released.

Frederic Bisson / Flickr

Starting this year, neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh are expected to get more surveillance cameras and gunshot detection devices, also known as ShotSpotter.

 

The city’s 2018 budget includes funding for a 30 percent expansion of an existing camera network over the next three years, and there are plans to deploy ShotSpotter over an additional 14.5 square miles.

 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Elevated levels of violent crime in the region prompted Pittsburgh’s FBI field office to launch a Violent Crimes Task Force this week. Federal data show that Pittsburgh and surrounding counties are experiencing higher levels of violent crime, on average, than the rest of the state and country.

An-Li Herring / WESA

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted three Chinese individuals Monday for stealing internal communications, passwords, trade secrets and other data from Moody’s Analytics, Siemens AG and GPS technology manufacturer Trimble, Inc.

Keith Srakocic / AP


Allegheny County has adopted a new comprehensive policy regarding the treatment of pregnant inmates—a result of a suit filed against the county alleging cruel and unusual punishment of five women who were placed in solitary confinement for minor infractions.

Mark Duncan / AP

Most companies hire based on a set of traditional criteria. For police, it's often prior military or law enforcement experience, physical fitness and maybe some higher education. One department in Minnesota decided to prioritize recruiting a different kind of officer. 

Jeff Roberson / AP

Criminal prosecutors can protect the public and build up their communities, but they can also make the system more punitive and send many more people to prison and jail. Yet for all of their importance, many prosecutors, once elected, serve for multiple terms and often run unopposed. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED  Nov. 3, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

Pittsburgh's only contested city council race this year pits Democrat Anthony Coghill against Republican Cletus Cibrone-Abate for the District 4 seat.

Matt Rourke / AP

For decades in the 20th Century, the U.S. treated children differently than adults in the criminal court system -- experts at the time believed kids were inherently more capable of rehabilitation. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Police have endured harsh public scrutiny over use of force cases, but prosecutors have also taken heat for choosing not to pursue cases when civilians are shot by police.

On this week’s episode of 90.5 WESA’s Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and host David Harris talks to David LaBahn, president and CEO of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, a national association representing elected and appointed prosecutors.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Police say an elementary school teacher was hit in the face with a brick and dragged from her car in Pittsburgh after a dispute with the parents of one of her students.

They say the attack happened around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday as 46-year-old Janice Watkins was leaving Pittsburgh King PreK-8 on the North Side.

Authorities say she was being followed by a couple in a SUV, and when she stopped at an intersection near the West End Bridge, the woman threw a brick at her.

John Locher / AP

Gun violence kills thousands of Americans every year. It carries massive consequences in lives lost, injuries and medical treatment, but what about the economic cost – in jobs, businesses and community development? How can we measure the opportunity cost of gun violence?

Cliff Owen / AP

 

It’s been less than a week since U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced he’s resigning from Congress, and the field for a special election to fill his seat is already highly contested. Murphy was forced to resign amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker allegedly urged his mistress to get an abortion.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Over the last 50 years, more than 8,000 people have been sentenced to die under the death penalty, and 1,500 of them were ultimately executed. But today, the death penalty has fallen out of favor.

Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

A jury did not reach a verdict in Leon Ford’s federal case against two Pittsburgh police officers Wednesday and will return for more deliberations Thursday.

Ford is suing officers David Derbish and Andrew Miller in federal civil court for a 2012 shooting that left him paralyzed. Derbish faces an allegation of excessive force, and Miller is accused of assault and battery.

An-Li Herring

A jury began deliberations in Leon Ford’s federal civil trial against two Pittsburgh police officers following closing arguments Tuesday. The jury could deliver its verdict any day.

Colleen Long / AP

Police killings of unarmed black men, stop-and-frisk policies and racially disproportionate prison populations have all been called symptoms of a broken criminal justice system.

Courtesy of Phillip Atiba Goff

Fear, fatigue, mood and experience all affect how people interact with others. That's especially true when those actions have life or death consequences.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Thirteen new surveillance cameras are now up and running through Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood.

Philadelphia Is The Latest City To Sue U.S. Government Over 'Sanctuary' Conditions

Aug 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia on Wednesday became the latest "sanctuary city" to sue Attorney General Jeff Sessions over what officials say are unconstitutional immigration restrictions placed on a major federal grant.

The city is asking the court to stop Sessions from adding these conditions to a its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant, which it uses to pay police overtime, upgrade equipment and courtroom technology and train officers.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

The federal government doesn't track how often or what happens when police shoot civilians, and there's no official national database to show how big or complex the problem is.

Journalist Ben Montgomery said he learned a lot by requesting documents from more than 400 jurisdictions in Florida alone. In six years and more than 800 shootings, not one incident resulted in criminal charges.

Matt Rourke / AP

Philadelphia's police commissioner is challenging Attorney General Jeff Sessions for blaming immigrants for much of the nation's violent crime.

Commissioner Richard Ross says "young men from here" who are hopeless and dealing with poverty are a bigger problem.

Ross also says he doesn't think local law enforcement "belongs in the immigration business." He says it's tough enough for police to build bonds with local residents without having them worry about their immigration status.

Susan Walsh / AP

James Comey wasn’t the nation’s embattled former FBI Director in 2002, but the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan. He was giving a speech to a group of fellow attorneys -- men and women with impeccable courtroom records. 

Comey was not impressed.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

It's an oft-repeated mandate: law enforcement needs to change for the 21st century. But what does "21st century policing" actually mean, and how would a forward-thinking department be different than what most jurisdictions have now?

Eric Risberg / AP

The FBI has used the same protocols to process DNA for the last 20 years. It requires a human analyst to make comparisons based on subjective choices and simplified genetic samples.

Mark Perlin's product, True Allele, uses a different method. It's a program that lets computers process every high and low point in a piece of DNA – no comparisons or required.

On this episode of the Criminal Injustice podcast, host David Harris talks to Perlin about the program and how DNA analysis can be more powerful, faster and accurate.

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