Head Of Police Review Board Says Power To Broaden Authority Would Have To Come From State

Jul 16, 2020

 


On today's program: Pittsburgh City Council is considering a proposal intended to strengthen the investigative authority of the Citizen Police Review Board; the Market Square Farmers Market is reopening with new safety precautions; and a new biography traces “The Epic Life of the King of Comics.”

A proposed ballot referendum could force police officers’ cooperation with Citizen Police Review Board investigations
(00:00 — 6:15)

Pittsburgh City Council is considering a proposal intended to strengthen the investigative authority of the Citizen Police Review Board.

The CPRB is an independent agency funded by the city to investigate complaints of police misconduct. It was created in 1997 as a result of a ballot referendum, and now, voters could get the chance to broaden the board’s authority.

The bill under consideration would create a ballot question that if passed by voters, would require police officers and other bureau personnel to cooperate “fully” during a board investigation. If they refuse, they could be fired. 

Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the CPRB, says that while she does think the board needs more authority, that power would have to come from the state level.

“The reality is that that power is curtailed by state law. It’s not something that’s curtailed locally.”

According to Pittinger, the board already compels officers to testify at public hearings. They have also used subpoena power, which she says has been reinforced by the courts. The ballot referendum isn’t necessary, she tells The Confluence.

“The provisions in this actually restrict the independence and the discretion that the board currently has.” She says the proposal would require complaints to be filed within 90 days of the alleged act. “The board, they should not be forced to conduct their work within a period of teime that is dictated by the police and the mayor; that's what this proposal in effect would do."

Pittinger says that would diminish the independence of the board.

She says that the issue can’t be fixed on the local level, it has to be taken up by the state legislature. “We can’t fix it locally. The things that can be fixed locally we have pretty much fixed.”

Market Square Farmers Market reopens—with some pandemic precautions
(6:17 — 13:32)

The Market Square Farmers Market returns to downtown today. But things may look a little different than customers are used to, says Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

 

Masks will be required for all patrons and vendors, and only vendors will touch the products. Waldrup says they encourage people to use credit cards if possible. Customers will also have the option to shop online and pick up their order at the market.

 

While there will be fewer vendors spaced farther apart this year, Waldrup says the modifications were made with both vendors and customers in mind. “This will really just be another kind of component of supporting the downtown merchants and retailers as they begin to welcome folks back into the city.”

 

Jeremy Simmons of Simmons Farm sells his goods at Market Square Farmers Market and others across the region. He says customers can expect the same fresh, home-grown produce that is always available at local farm stands.

 

The Market Square Farmers Market is open every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Oct. 29. 

 

Pittsburgh artist writes the book on the “King of Comics”
(13:36 — 18:02)

 

If you know superheroes like Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, and the Black Panther, you know the work of Jack Kirby, who created or co-created them and many more.

 

Pittsburgh-based comics artist Tom Scioli wrote and illustrated a graphic biography about Kirby called “Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics.” 90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll asked Scioli about Kirby’s famous partnership with Marvel Comics publisher Stan Lee.

 

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.