Ravenstahl vs. Robocop

Taser-toting police officer Frank Rende's latest meltdown causes Mayor Ravenstahl to act human for once.

Prior to dropping his reelection bid, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl spent the last six years sounding exactly like a lifetime politician. It was as if someone uploaded PoliticoSpeak 2.0 directly to his brain and deleted every human-sounding phrase from his vocabulary.

"He and I" became "myself and other individuals."

"I'm not happy with this and we're going to fix it" became "I'm certainly displeased with the developments in this scenario and myself and other individuals like myself will see that it comes to an appropriate resolution."

Just ... what?!

Never one to rock the boat — likely for fear he would turn the good ole boys' establishment against him and his political ambitions — Ravenstahl became like every other politician. Timid. Politically correct to a fault. Cautious. Needlessly verbose.



However, now that he's chosen (or has been forced) to shutter his re-election campaign, the new Luke Ravenstahl has found his inner Chuck Norris, and it's a thing of beauty.

Take the case of Pittsburgh police officer Frank Rende.

Frank Rende has quite a history here in Pittsburgh, and "illustrious" isn't the word for it. More like infamous.

Let's recap:

In 2000, Officer Rende returned to visit a victim of domestic abuse after responding to a call at her home. Why? To have sex with her. Rende was told then that any further misconduct would result in termination. What a Casanova.



By 2011, it was determined that he had called off work 37 times in four years to work side jobs above and beyond his almost six-figure detective job.

He had a “complaint history at the city’s Office of Municipal Investigations [that] contains a dozen accusations of conduct unbecoming an officer, verbal abuse and excessive force."

In 2011, it was Rende who tased and beat a drunken fan at PNC Park, garnering cries of, you guessed it, "excessive force."

Now, it’s Rende once again caught on video behaving in an overly aggressive manner, waving his taser at a woman before chasing down a drunk man and pushing him to the ground by holding a taser to his neck. Afterward, he kind of flips out at the bystanders and the man, who was apologetic.

The reason Frank Rende still has a job on the city's payroll can easily be summed up as 1. family connections (Rende's sister was living with the former head of city operations Dennis Regan, who quit when it was revealed he interfered in the investigation of Rende’s misconduct) and 2. the union. The union can make it so hard to fire an officer, even if the officer has clearly conducted himself or herself in a manner that would easily have gotten them fired at any other job on the planet. More often than not, you'll hear they're "suspended with pay."

So Lukey tiptoed around the issue, despite the fact that it seemed Rende had done more than enough to lose his job on multiple occasions.



Until now. Now that Rende is again caught on tape blowing a gasket, Ravenstahl is not saying what he would have said six months ago: "Myself and other individuals will be looking into this matter and we will take all of the information into consideration as we determine the best course of ... "

BLAH BLAH BLAH.

A man who no longer has to worry about reelection or keeping unions happy? Well, he sees that video and just says what everyone on earth is thinking:

"Somebody better give me a real good reason why this guy should not be fired," Ravenstahl said.

Excuse me a moment.

[thud]

Okay, I'm back.

I almost couldn't believe it. Luke Ravenstahl, speaking like a man. Speaking like a human. Chuck Norris-roundhouse-kicking the PoliticoSpeak 2.0 software to the proverbial curb and saying what needed to be said without fear of repercussion.

Gone is the use of 25 words when three would suffice. The only way Ravenstahl could be any more straightforward is if he had said, "This guy? SO fired."

But yes, regardless of whether or not Robocop Rende actually fired the taser, he's had more than enough chances to show he can be a good cop, and if Ravenstahl is using this incident to finally do what should have been done all the way back in 2000, then good for him. Rende clearly lost his cool again and it's only a matter of time before the city is faced with an enormous lawsuit when he goes way too far. Frank Rende is a liability, plain and simple.

There is no other Pittsburgh cop I've encountered in my voracious reading of the news who has been involved in as many public controversies as Rende. Real talk: He's a firecracker waiting to explode.

Or as the NEW Luke Ravenstahl would say, "Let's can this guy before he goes all KABLOOEY."

Amen, Luke.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from PittGirl:

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.
The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

Don't start shopping without this list of 10 locally made must-haves for Mom.
Drink It In: The Best Place to Get Drunk on Pittsburgh's History

Drink It In: The Best Place to Get Drunk on Pittsburgh's History

PittGirl shares the fascinating stories behind a chair, china, and a homemade toy.
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.
Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

The online grocery delivery service opened this week, promising delivery in 45 minutes or less to selected neighborhoods.
Old Farmer’s Almanac: Winter in Pittsburgh Will Be Warmer, But…

Old Farmer’s Almanac: Winter in Pittsburgh Will Be Warmer, But…

In its 225th year, the reference book on weather suggests we tune up our snow-removal equipment.
Chris Jamison Releases His First EP

Chris Jamison Releases His First EP

The Ross native finished third on NBC's “The Voice” in December of 2014.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Our dining critic (and Three Day Blow organizing committee member) has a roundup of some open to the public events.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

These comic book shops offer more than just your casual Batman or Spider-Man choices.

Comments


New Industry Public House Location Up to Par

New Industry Public House Location Up to Par

If you’re in need of a dining option that’s not a national chain while visiting the Robinson area, this is one to keep in mind.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

The Steelers running back emphasized his latest suspension resulted from missed random drug tests, and not a relapse into the marijuana-induced haze that got him jammed up last season. But if you lack the maturity to grasp the consequences of your actions (or, in this case, inactions), does it really matter?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Custom Made: The Surmesur Suit

Custom Made: The Surmesur Suit

Straight out of Canada, the custom menswear store opens its first U.S. location in Pittsburgh.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

Reviews of "Hands of Stone" and "Don't Breathe," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Lucky Ones: Katie Doré and John Potter

The Lucky Ones: Katie Doré and John Potter

Want even more Real Pittsburgh Weddings? We'll be bringing them to you throughout the fall, beginning with this lovely and lucky couple.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Put a Lid On It! The Container Store Coming to Pittsburgh

Put a Lid On It! The Container Store Coming to Pittsburgh

The store famous for carrying storage and organizational products is set to open at the revamped Block Northway in Ross Township.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

A fall visitation day and a Saturday information session aim to allow interested students a look into life at the university.

Comments

Edit Module