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Race, Fear And Law In Police Confrontations

Michael Drazdzinski / The University of Pittsburgh
Anthem Press
University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris hosts the Criminal Injustice podcast and just published a new book exploring what has and hasn't changed since police detained then-Pittsburgh teen Jordan Miles in 2010.


On today's program: The longtime head of the Delta Foundation has stepped down; New Light Congregation makes a decision about its future; a new book looks at how police-community relations have evolved a decade since the Jordan Miles case; and it’s too early to call, but the Penguins could be eyeing another Stanley Cup run. 

New leadership for the Delta Foundation
(00:00 — 9:09) 

Gary Van Horn has stepped down as the head of Pittsburgh's highest-profile LGBT advocacy group. 90.5 WESA's Chris Potter reports the Delta Foundation still plans to host this summer's Pride festival, even as it reviews its own finances.

Van Horn has been on a leave of absence since last month, when he was charged with impersonating a public servant. He's accused of using emergency flashers on his car, and of forging documents to show he was allowed to do so. Delta's board asked Van Horn to step down last week. 

The foundation has also hired a law firm to audit the nonprofit's financial activities.

New Light Congregation won't return to Tree of Life
(10:32 — 17:48) 

Members of New Light Congregation voted unanimously last week to stay at Beth Shalom, rather than returning to the Tree of Life synagogue, should the building reopen in the future. Tree of Life has been vacant since a shooter killed 11 worshippers during Saturday morning services in October 2018.

Peter Smith writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that there's still no definite timeline on when the Tree of Life site may reopen.

Policing in America, a decade after a violent arrest in Homewood
(17:53 — 29:50) 

Ten years after the beating and false arrest of then-18-year-old Pittsburgher Jordan Miles, a new book looks at how police interactions with the city's black community have and haven't changed. 

WESA legal analyst and University of Pittsburgh professor David Harris explores the encounter itself, the public reaction and the legal process that followed. He details A City Divided: Race, Fear and the Law in Police Confrontations at 6 tonight at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland through Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures

Could Pittsburgh vie for a 6th Stanley Cup?
(29:53 — 38:54) 

Despite injuries to some of the team’s top players, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep winning. Now well into the season, what are their chances for a playoff run? The Athletic's Rob Rossi weighs in on the team’s deep bench and what to expect when Sidney Crosby returns against Minnesota tonight. 

90.5 WESA’s Caldwell Holden and Caroline Bourque contributed to this program.

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.

Kiley Koscinski is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She previously produced The Confluence and Morning Edition. Before coming to WESA, she worked as an assignment desk editor and producer at 1020 AM KDKA. She can be reached at
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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