Police Brutality Protests

This page will be frequently updated with the latest news about the demonstrations against police brutality, from both our community and around the world.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA


Allegheny County has reported record high numbers of new COVID-19 cases over the past week. On Thursday, the region broke 200 for the first time. The people infected are skewing younger and public health officials say many of them spent time in bars and restaurants or traveled out of state.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Protesters lined about a half-mile of Fifth Avenue, in Oakland, at noon Wednesday for the Interfaith Vigil for Black Lives. Passing motorists honked their horns in support of the roughly 200 demonstrators, who gathered to hold signs referencing scripture and bearing messages including “We Stand With Our Neighbors” and “We Are All God’s Creation – Put An End To Discrimination.”

Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf will sign the first bills passed by Pennsylvania’s Legislature in response to widespread protests over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, his office said Tuesday.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Demonstrators gathered outside the Target in East Liberty on Friday to protest the treatment of Black people by law enforcement. Such protests have taken place in Pittsburgh since late May, following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. 

Jared Murphy and Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

As protests against police brutality sweep across the country, polling suggests most Americans support law-enforcement reform. In our year-long Split Ticket series, we’ve been asking four voters about the issues that could sway their decision at the ballot box. This month, the many reported acts of police brutality – and the President’s response to them – have deepened one voter’s commitment to be heard in November.

Rep. Jordan Harris / Twitter

The coalition of lawmakers leading a push for police reform in Pennsylvania’s legislature say that, despite some major victories this week, they’re still wary that the GOP-controlled body could fall short of making the fundamental changes they think law enforcement needs.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Anger over entrenched racism and white supremacy in American culture is boiling over, after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black people at the hands of police and private citizens. Regular protests continue in Pittsburgh and across the country, but many activists have pivoted from simply expressing rage to making demands.

And, after more than a month of COVID-19 case counts trending downward, Allegheny County saw a spike over the past week. Since last Friday, the county has reported 199 new cases.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

A Philadelphia SWAT officer caught on video using pepper spray on a group of protesters at close range during a demonstration on I-676 will be fired, and the police commander who greenlit the use of these less-than-lethal munitions will accept a voluntary demotion, officials announced Thursday.

Ted S. Warren / AP

 

On today's program: Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor is encouraging people with nonviolent marijuana-related convictions to apply for pardons; a new executive order aims to limit the number of legal immigrants coming to the U.S.; and polls suggest most Americans support police reform, but how might that impact their choices at the ballot box in November? 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Critics of a proposal to ban “less-lethal” weapons throughout Allegheny County outlined legal and practical concerns about the measure Wednesday. The bill, pending before the county’s 15-member council, would prohibit munitions such as those police in Pittsburgh used to disperse crowds at recent protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

It’s been two years since the bronze statue of Pittsburgh-born composer Stephen Foster and a barefoot black man playing a banjo was removed from Schenley Plaza. The statue was denounced for decades, but the criticism gained steam in the aftermath of a deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va. over the removal of Confederate monuments.

Tomlin: Steelers Will Support Players If They Opt To Kneel

Jun 23, 2020
Gail Burton / AP

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wants his players to feel comfortable speaking out about social justice in any way they see fit, provided it's done “thoughtfully and with class.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

A coalition of advocacy groups is calling on the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors to remove police officers from school buildings.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people gathered in front of Pittsburgh’s City-County Building. They filled Grant Street between Fourth and Forbes avenues in a giant circle to oppose police brutality and call to amend Pennsylvania’s use of force law.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

This Juneteenth marks two years to the day that Antwon Rose Jr. was shot and killed by an East Pittsburgh Police officer.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Friday marks two years since black Rankin teen, Antwon Rose, was shot and killed by a white East Pittsburgh police officer. Rose’s death sparked weeks of demonstrations, and local community organizer Christian Carter said those actions provided a foundation for today’s demonstrations over police brutality and systemic oppression.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Demonstrators marched from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to the City County Building downtown Thursday afternoon in a protest organized by the groups Trans YOUniting and 1Hood Media. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

As protests nationwide and across Western Pennsylvania call out police brutality, a collective of activists on Monday presented their list of demands for police reform to city and Allegheny County officials. Among their demands: Reduce a years-long trend of increased police spending.

Three-Day Suspension For Erie Officer Who Kicked Protester

Jun 16, 2020
Screenshot from video

Erie officials on Monday said they are imposing a three-day suspension on a city police officer who was captured on video kicking a woman during a protest in the wake of the George Floyd killing.

PA House Committee Advances Two Police Reform Bills

Jun 15, 2020
Ed Mahon / PA Post

One week after Black Democratic lawmakers protested on the House floor,  temporarily preventing the regular session from beginning, a Republican-led House committee unanimously passed two police reform bills.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

 

On today's program: Protests and demonstrations demanding an end to racism and police violence against people of color continue across the country; Mike Turzai retires as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House; and local nonprofits are working hard to provide more aid during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Charles R. Martin Photographs / University of Pittsburgh


Lenore Williams was living in Homewood when civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools board members Devon Taliaferro and Pam Harbin say it’s time for the district to be police-free.

Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Protests against police brutality continued in the Pittsburgh area on Sunday, as hundreds gathered for a demonstration in Murrysville, in Westmoreland.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds gathered in Squirrel Hill this afternoon for “Civil Saturday,” a weekly demonstration begun by Black, Young & Educated, a Pittsburgh group created in 2019 by five teenagers. Participants were asked to wear black as a tribute to the Pan-African flag; adopted in 1920, the red, black, and green flag represents "black freedom." 

What Was The National Guard Doing In Philadelphia, Anyway?

Jun 12, 2020
Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania National Guard troops are making their way out of Philadelphia, after their ranks peaked at 3,000 over the last two weeks of demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and others at the hands of police. 

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Recent protests of police brutality and systemic oppression have prompted calls to end the use of “less-lethal weapons” to control crowds. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


There’s a discussion happening in Pittsburgh and around the country about the ways we as a society think about policing. People are questioning whether armed officers are really the ones who should be handling issues of mental illness, domestic disputes and broken tail lights.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus caused 51 additional deaths among Pennsylvanians and about eight times that number in new infections, health officials said Thursday, while Philadelphia kept close tabs on its virus numbers after recent protests.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s newest mural is the words “Black Lives Matter,” painted in white letters 12 feet tall in one of Downtown’s most prominent spots: on the wall of the Allegheny River wharf, right across from PNC Park, along a busy riverfront trail.

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