Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvania's highest court has put a stop to a local policy that allowed streaming of Philadelphia criminal trials over the internet.

$1M Bail Set For Lancaster Police Shooting Demonstrators

Sep 15, 2020
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Thirteen people who are accused of committing crimes while participating in a civil disturbance in Lancaster on Sunday night sat behind bars Tuesday, with bail for seven of them set at $1 million.

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads


On today's program: A new report shows that Black students in Pittsburgh are referred to the juvenile justice system at a much higher rate than their white counterparts; and Pennsylvania could join a regional cap-and-trade program.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

After nearly two years of evidence-gathering and hundreds of interviews with people who have been held at the Allegheny County Jail, civil rights lawyers have sued the county and jail officials for the alleged mistreatment of inmates with psychiatric disabilities.

Legal Advocates Line Up On Both Sides Of Bill Cosby's Appeal

Sep 14, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Legal advocates are lining up on both sides of actor Bill Cosby’s appeal as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review his 2018 sex assault conviction.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Black girls in Allegheny County were 10 times more likely than their white counterparts to be involved in the juvenile justice system last year, according to a study released Monday. The county’s Black boys, meanwhile, were seven times more likely than local white boys to end up in the system, the research shows.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Police deployed tear gas on a crowd of people protesting early Monday after an officer shot and killed a man in Pennsylvania while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Cheers, chants and tears filled the streets of Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods Saturday as the group Black, Young and Educated made their final collective in-person push for changes to Pennsylvania’s police use of force law.

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Footage of a weekend protest in Downtown Pittsburgh went viral—and now President Donald Trump has spoken out about the incident, calling protesters “anarchists” and “thugs.”  

David Maialetti / Philadelphia Inquirer

On Tuesday morning, Jason Kiefer went to get his mail and found two copies of an eviction notice taped to the door, scheduling a court hearing for Sept. 10. The address of the Lehigh County Courthouse was crossed out, replaced by “Zoom” in scribbled red letters.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Federal agents searched two nursing homes Thursday near Pittsburgh, one of which had the worst coronavirus outbreak of any in Pennsylvania and was already being investigated by the state on suspicion of criminal neglect.

Highway 'Stop-And-Frisk': How Pennsylvania State Troopers Conduct Illegal Traffic Searches

Aug 31, 2020
Kat Warykow / Getty Images

Around 10 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2013, a Pennsylvania state trooper pulled over a minivan on Interstate 81. He later wrote that he had seen a GPS device mounted on the car’s windshield, possibly obstructing the driver’s view.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A cacophony of car horns filled Downtown Pittsburgh and a handful of other city neighborhoods Monday as demonstrators called for the extension of a statewide eviction moratorium. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of demonstrators occupied the intersection of Forbes and Murray avenues in Squirrel Hill for over two-and-a-half hours Saturday afternoon, as some speakers challenged participants to redouble their efforts on behalf of the cause.

Courtesy Photo

Three people are facing felony charges in connection with a mural painted in Wilkinsburg in July. The mural depicted the face of Romir Talley, a 24-year-old man who was shot and killed by Wilkinsburg police in December.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

At least eight residents of a long-beleaguered apartment complex in Penn Hills will be forced to move out by Monday – the same day a moratorium that has protected Pennsylvania renters from eviction during the coronavirus crisis is set to expire

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Devereux, the Villanova-based behavioral health organization where an investigation recently uncovered systemic sexual abuse, also holds a federal contract to house unaccompanied immigrant children in Pennsylvania.

'You've Got To Do Something': PA Rehabs Buckle, Begin To Close Under COVID-19 Strain

Aug 26, 2020
Dan Nott / Spotlight PA

Faced with the financial burdens of COVID-19 and a lack of state support, drug and alcohol treatment facilities in Pennsylvania could begin closing at an alarming rate, even as overdose deaths rise and the need for treatment is expected to grow.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Police are still searching for those responsible for the shooting death of a 1-year-old boy in Spring Hill. Officials appealed directly to the public Tuesday to submit any information that could help their investigation.  

Wolf: Pennsylvania Eviction Moratorium To Lapse Aug. 31

Aug 25, 2020
Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday he does not have the legal authority to extend Pennsylvania’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures beyond the end of the month, meaning that renters will no longer be shielded from losing their homes for failing to pay rent during the pandemic.

Probe: Pandemic Jobless Pay Went To Pennsylvania Inmates

Aug 25, 2020
Carolyn Kaster / AP

About 10,000 state prison inmates in Pennsylvania fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, prosecutors said in announcing charges Tuesday against 33 people.

Peaceful Civil Rights Marcher Shot In PA, While On Trek From Milwaukee To D.C.

Aug 25, 2020
Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

A white Bedford County man shot into a crowd of about 50 peaceful civil rights marchers who were crossing through Pennsylvania during a pilgrimage from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. last night, injuring one in the face.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s annual Pride celebration will have new leadership next year. Trans YOUniting and the PGH LGBTQ Coalition say they will oversee the June festival and parade in 2021


Starting Monday, certain Pennsylvania residents with state parole warrants can voluntarily surrender and most likely avoid getting sent back to prison for violating the terms of their supervision.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

One week after a cyclist was arrested during a Civil Saturdays protest, hundreds marched through East Liberty with little interference from police.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto announced changes to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s protest policy on Friday afternoon, following a week of confrontations between police and demonstrators.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Protesters are expected to march through Mayor Bill Peduto’s Point Breeze neighborhood Wednesday evening for the third time this week. Organizers say their only demand is a conversation with the mayor about the Black Lives Matter movement, something activist Lorenzo Rulli said he has been requesting for months. 

A small number of protesters who remained outside the home of the mayor of Pittsburgh overnight were dispersed by police Wednesday morning and the mayor issued a statement decrying residents being “harassed and threatened."

Poor People’s Campaign Bolstered By 2016 Data As It Urges Voter Participation In 2020

Aug 18, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Every election year, the country has the chance to reimagine who speaks for the people: What if more voters of color came outMore naturalized citizens? More young people?

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Black, Young, and Educated responds to the arrest of a bike marshall by plain-clothes officers with an unmarked van at a recent protest; the story of one Pennsylvania suffragette; and Trace Brewing plans to open despite difficulties posed by the pandemic.