After Criticisms, Peduto Says Changes Are Being Made In Responses To Protests


On today's program: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto ordered changes to how police respond to protesters; and the election is less than three months away, but Pennsylvania is still litigating mail-in voting.

Peduto says recent arrest and use of chemical spray on protesters “went directly against the orders that I had given”
(00:00 — 13:28)

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is facing renewed criticism after plainclothes officers in an unmarked van detained a protest bike marshal at a Black, Young and Educated demonstration; and at another demonstration, police moved protesters from outside of Peduto’s house to Mellon Park and then sprayed them with what appeared to be pepper spray.

Peduto says “the tactics used in the removal of the marshal and the inability for our SRT [Special Response Team] unit to step back and just allow the protesters to stay in Mellon Park and then disperse went directly against the orders that I had given.”

He says he ordered changes to the police response to protests, including a new incident commander to oversee protests, banning police from wearing military-style camouflage uniforms and discontinuing Special Response Teams as primary response units to protests.

Some activists say Peduto’s actions are not enough, condemning the mayor and other city officials for their “cheap and insincere” response. Peduto says he does not plan on resigning and will run for reelection next year.

“There’s so much work that we have done and so many seeds that we have planted over these six and a half years that I feel that it is necessary to seek another term in order to be able to see them take root,” he says.  

Elections officials, voters share concerns about mail-in ballot deadlines
(13:35 — 17:47)

Recent revelations that the U.S. Postal Service will likely struggle to deliver ballots in time to be counted has voters and campaigns and election officials across the U.S. worried. But the stakes feel particularly high in battleground states like Pennsylvania.

90.5 WESA's Lucy Perkins reports on how election officials are trying to balance mail delivery problems and fears from voters.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.