An-Li Herring

Government & Accountability Reporter

An-Li became a reporter while completing her law degree at Stanford. In law school, she wrote about housing affordability, criminal justice and economic development, among other topics. She also served as the intern to NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, helping Ms. Totenberg to cover the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. Originally from Pittsburgh, An-Li interned with the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before joining 90.5 WESA in August 2017.

She can be reached at 412-315-6767 or at aherring@wesa.fm.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County continues to spiral upward. The county’s Department of Health reported 61 new cases of the disease Friday, the highest one-day total since April 23.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Critics of a proposal to ban “less-lethal” weapons throughout Allegheny County outlined legal and practical concerns about the measure Wednesday. The bill, pending before the county’s 15-member council, would prohibit munitions such as those police in Pittsburgh used to disperse crowds at recent protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

David Zalubowski / AP

A proposal to test all Allegheny County employees is expected to replace a bill that would have required universal COVID-19 testing only at the county Jail and Kane Community Living Centers.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Friday marks two years since black Rankin teen, Antwon Rose, was shot and killed by a white East Pittsburgh police officer. Rose’s death sparked weeks of demonstrations, and local community organizer Christian Carter said those actions provided a foundation for today’s demonstrations over police brutality and systemic oppression.

MARK NOOTBAAR / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny County Council committee has decided not to back a bill that would mandate universal COVID-19 testing at the county jail and Kane Community Living Centers. Democrat Bethany Hallam introduced the legislation in May, given that people in group-living settings face a heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Recent protests of police brutality and systemic oppression have prompted calls to end the use of “less-lethal weapons” to control crowds. 

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Law enforcement’s use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and other crowd-control tools at recent protests over police violence has stirred public outcry. On Tuesday, Allegheny County Council is expected to consider a ban on the “less lethal weapons.”

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh police charged Natalie Lewis, 24, and Abigail Rubio, 24, Thursday for allegedly throwing water bottles at police from a nearby apartment during a protest in East Liberty Monday. Documents say that Rubio, who filmed police and protesters from her balcony and later told reporters about a subsequent encounter with police a day after the protest, was arrested Friday.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Thursday he will wait for the results of two investigations before drawing conclusions about why and how police broke up a protest in East Liberty Monday. In the meantime, he vowed to adopt new police reforms — a pledge that received a tepid response from some local black activists, who said the city must go farther.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Following a rash of social media videos and media stories examining how and why Pittsburgh police broke up a protest in East Liberty on Monday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has said he's requesting investigations by the Citizen Police Review Board and the Office of Municipal Investigations.  

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Amid conflicting accounts over what led Pittsburgh police to break up a protest in East Liberty Monday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto vowed to review transcripts of police communications “line by line” to determine what actually happened. But the mayor said at a news conference late Monday night that he would not make the transcripts public, a move that has prompted criticism from some transparency advocates.

90.5 WESA

It will be at least another three months before jury trials resume at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Last week, the court’s president judge, Kim Clark, announced that due to the continuing threat of COVID-19, she would extend a prohibition on those proceedings through the end of August.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Many college students don’t know when they’ll return to campus due to COVID-19, but when they do, they will need a place to live. Some might feel pressure to commit to housing despite the uncertainty, and Pittsburgh lawyer Marcy Smorey is using artificial intelligence to help students be smart about signing apartment leases.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

It began as a march, one of dozens across the United States, to protest the death of a black man at the hands of Minneapolis police. Thousands marched through Downtown Pittsburgh and the Lower Hill District, and even as they chanted “no justice, no peace,” the police kept their distance.

That changed after about two hours, as police cars were burned, buildings vandalized, and police used tear gas and horses to disperse crowds. Shortly after 7:30 p.m., public safety officials had declared a curfew to go into effect from 8:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday. 

90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has settled some key issues in a lawsuit over its handling of the coronavirus at the county jail, with prison-reform advocates winning several concessions.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Legislation that would establish paid sick leave at Allegheny County workplaces is poised to receive a thorough vetting, with a vote possible in September. On Tuesday, health and human services committee chair Cindy Kirk said that in coming weeks, her committee will hold additional meetings and public hearings on the bill, which would grant three to five paid sick days a year to most people who work full-time within the county.

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court live-streamed oral arguments for the first time in history, to limit the spread of COVID-19. Videos of the court sessions now reside on YouTube, but the media is prohibited from using any of the footage in news broadcasts.

Courtesy of Friends of Chris Roland and Friends of Summer Lee

One of the most contentious primaries for the state House next week pits Democratic state Rep. Summer Lee against North Braddock borough councilor Chris Roland. While Lee is an ardent progressive, Roland says he favors a more moderate approach. Their race brings long-simmering tensions within the Democratic Party to the surface.

YouTube

In the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s first live-streamed oral argument, the justices raised doubts Tuesday about whether state trial courts can ban people on probation from using medical marijuana.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer will call to find out who you interacted with since 48 hours before you felt sick. Some people, though, want the phones themselves to help with the work.

MICAHEL RUBINKAM / AP

The Pennsylvania State Police do not plan to take a harder line approach to enforcing Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order, even as some local officials pledge to reopen without the governor’s permission.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County’s Jail Oversight Board on Thursday voted down a motion that would have directed the jail to test all inmates for the novel coronavirus. 

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

A motion to declare racism a public health crisis passed along party lines at Allegheny County Council Tuesday. The body’s 12 Democrats voted to approve the symbolic measure, while all three Republican councilors were opposed.

Courtesy of Onex, Inc.

Considered essential businesses, many manufacturers have been exempted from Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order. Some now find themselves with almost too many orders, while others don't have nearly enough. But almost all are facing unexpected challenges from the coronavirus.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Twenty-four inmates at the Allegheny County Jail have now tested positive for COVID-19, triple the eight cases diagnosed on Sunday, according to a county website tracking the illness.

Courtesy of Denise Puglisi

Life at the Allegheny County Jail in the time of coronavirus is marked by fights over phone time, frenzied cleaning efforts, and tight quarters, according to a man who was freed from the facility just days ago.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council will consider a proposal to grant three to five paid sick days a year to most people who work in the county full-time. The Democrats who plan to introduce the legislation Tuesday say the coronavirus pandemic underscores the need for the policy.

Beth LaBerge / AP

Ventilators are key to fighting the coronavirus, but members of the “right-to-repair” movement say that if the devices break, manufacturers won't let anyone else fix them. In some cases, such restrictions have forced hospitals to wait days for device makers to send their own repair people.

90.5 WESA

Michael Broglie has been in Allegheny County Jail for nine months on a federal drug-conspiracy charge. His sister, Denise Puglisi, said he agreed to plead guilty for a sentence between eight and 14 months – which means in theory, he could be set free today. 

90.5 WESA

Prison-reform groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Allegheny County and county jail warden Orlando Harper Tuesday, warning that the facility is poised to suffer a severe outbreak of COVID-19 unless it takes more drastic measures. Hours later, the urgency of the issue was underlined when the county announced that an inmate had tested positive for COVID-19, about two weeks after a jail employee was diagnosed with the disease.

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