Stephen Zappala

Mike Wereschagin / The Caucus

On today’s program: Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has a vast surveillance camera system with the ability to recognize license plates, faces and more; drug testing strips could help prevent overdose deaths, but they're illegal in Pennsylvania; a UPMC symposium centers on transgender and non-binary health care needs; a tour of World War II aircraft comes to Butler; and a preview of Trump’s visit to Shell’s new Beaver County ethane cracker.

DA’s camera network spurs privacy concerns
(0:00 – 12:28)

Courtesy of the Friends of Lisa Middleman

Lisa Middleman launched her independent campaign for Allegheny County District Attorney pledging to reform a justice system that incarcerates people of color at disproportionate rates.

Courtesy of the Friends of Lisa Middleman

Long-time Allegheny County public defender Lisa Middleman said Monday that she plans to run as an independent for district attorney in November.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Multiple grand jury indictments have been unsealed against nine people in connection with gang violence in Hilltop neighborhoods in October of 2014. Collectively, the men are accused of being involved in multiple shootings and one case of kidnap and torture. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The FBI in Pittsburgh announced Thursday that a 400-year-old Geneva Bible stolen from the Carnegie Library in the 1990s is back in the Steel City.

Sarah Bader / Courtesy of Kamara Townes

Kamara Townes, who goes professionally by Wavy Wednesday, is an emerging artist who uses satire in her work to explore pop culture and racism. She uses bright colors and draws on cultural symbols like Barbie to confront social justice through her work. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

It’s been a trying year for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, spawning lengthy grand jury reports and charges against one East Pittsburgh Police officer.

Nick Childers / Associated Artists of Pittsburgh

 

It's the oldest, continuously exhibiting visual arts membership organization in the country, boasting alumni like Andy Warhol, Mary Cassat, Samuel Rosenberg and Rochelle Blumenfeld, and works of its 600-plus modern members will be available to view and purchase all over Pittsburgh in 2019.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office didn’t have much to say when it released a scathing grand-jury report on how the city of Pittsburgh investigates police shootings last Friday.

Courtesy of the Abolitionist Law Center

A state appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday in the case of an Allegheny County woman serving a life sentence without parole. Avis Lee was convicted of second-degree homicide in 1981, after participating in an attempted robbery that resulted in a shooting death.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Sixty surveillance cameras have been installed in Oakland around the University of Pittsburgh campus and residential areas. The cameras are in part a response to the murder last year of Pitt student Alina Sheyket in her Oakland apartment, at the hands of her estranged ex-boyfriend.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nearly one month after the death of Antwon Rose Jr., conversations about change are taking different forms.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

The ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Alliance for Police Accountability are among 15 civic groups demanding charges be dropped against a Wilkinsburg woman who was arrested during a confrontation with a North Versailles police officer.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It’s not easy to watch, or listen to, the video recording that captured an East Pittsburgh police officer shooting and killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose last month.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A district attorney in Pennsylvania says should Roe v. Wade be overturned, he would not prosecute any women or medical professionals for seeking or performing safe abortion services.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says there's concern that approval of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, could result in the landmark decision's reversal.

If it is overturned, abortion laws would revert to the states.

Courtesy of Friends of Turahn Jenkins

Turahn Jenkins announced his bid to challenge Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala on July 2. Less than a week later, some of the progressive activists who initially supported him are calling on him to withdraw, citing Jenkins' ties to a church with deeply conservative views on abortion and homosexuality.

Keith Srakocic / AP

In the wake of the officer-involved death of Antwon Rose last month, state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) said he plans to introduce legislation to improve police training on cultural awareness and use-of-force. 

Courtesy of Friends of Turahn Jenkins

Former public defender Turahn Jenkins of Churchill will run against Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala in 2019, when the 20-year Democratic incumbent is up for reelection.

 

A Democrat, Jenkins announced his candidacy to scores of people who filled a rainy Freedom Corner in the Hill District early Monday evening.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Ten days ago, on June 19, East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld pulled over a car he suspected was connected to an earlier drive-by shooting. Two of the car's occupants fled the vehicle, and Rosfeld opened fire, killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. 

Rose was unarmed. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County officials say local TV stations have failed in their reporting on the officer-involved shooting death of Antwon Rose. Rose was shot and killed by East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld last week as he fled a car that had been pulled over.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

 

 


One message rang clear through the cries of protesters this week after a police officer shot a black teenager: Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala needs to go.

Adelina Lancianese / 90.5 WESA

Security cameras in Pittsburgh's South Side have helped lower the area's crime rate by 37 percent in the last year, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

An officer-involved fatal shooting in Homewood in February was justified, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala. The timeline outlined on Tuesday was established piecing together security footage, gunshot time-stamps, evidence from the scene and officer testimony, according to Zappala. 

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 11, two Pittsburgh Police officers began trailing 39-year-old Mark Daniels on foot after he left a convenience store, because they said he appeared agitated and angry.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Thirteen new surveillance cameras are now up and running through Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood.

Google Maps

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is delaying the certification of a high school principal accused of threatening a student who recorded the incident, while the department investigates his fitness of character.

An attorney for Woodland Hills principal Kevin Murray says he's spoken to state education officials and expects the certification to be approved in a few weeks.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When police are called to the scene of a drug overdose they can treat it as a crime scene or an accident scene.  Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala wants it to be treated as a crime scene.

“Over the last year in Allegheny County, we’ve trained about 50 different police departments what they should do when they come on the scene,” Zappala said. “You have to move quickly [to gather evidence] but detectives have been trained specifically in those kinds of things.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he’s considering filing charges against Pittsburgh Police officer Raymond Toomey in connection with a violent arrest Sunday outside The Flats bar on Carson Street in the South Side.

  The district attorney was reviewing allegations that a police officer assigned to a suburban Pittsburgh school knocked out the tooth of a 14-year-old student accused of stealing another student's cell phone.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

District attorneys from Allegheny, Butler and Washington counties are calling on legislators to restore mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated mandatory minimum sentences in 2015, saying criminal defendants did not know the potential sentence they faced until after conviction. Offenders knew their punishment carried at least a fixed punishment time and prosecutors used that to leverage information from an offender.

Prosecutors Issue Guidelines On Probes Of Police Shootings

Nov 29, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

The group that represents Pennsylvania prosecutors issued guidelines Tuesday for investigating shootings by police officers, recommending that departments do not investigate their own and that the shooters' names should not be released unless they are charged.

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