Mayor Peduto Outlines Agenda for Police Reform
The announcement comes after peaceful protests turned violent Saturday and Monday in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto outlined in a press conference and subsequent press release his agenda for police reform Thursday, following local and national protests and calls for police use-of-force reform in light of the murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd while in police custody.
The police reform announcement comes after peaceful local protests turned violent Saturday and Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Police confirmed Tuesday that they used tear gas, smoke canisters, beanbags and sponge rounds to disperse crowds after initially reporting that smoke — not tear gas — was used.
The mayor’s office suggested the following reforms:
- Amending Act 111 to limit the scope of bargaining over disciplinary procedures or specifically limit a labor arbitrator’s authority to modify disciplinary penalties
- Amending Act 111 to adopt the “public policy exception,” which would enable cities to challenge an arbitrator’s decision to return an officer to work on the basis that their continued employment is adverse to the public interest
- Amending the Confidence in Law Enforcement Act to expand the circumstances under which employers are required to terminate officers engaged in misconduct
- Giving the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission more authority to revoke certifications from officers, or the ability to review use-of-force complaints to suspend or revoke certifications
Additionally, the mayor signed former President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pledge and endorsed the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign and began to review policies ensuring the following:
- Officers de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force.
- Officers have a Force Continuum or Matrix included in their use of force policy, defining the types of force/weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.
- Prohibiting chokeholds and strangleholds (including carotid restraints) or limiting the tactics to situations where deadly force is authorized.
- Officers give a verbal warning, when possible, before using deadly force.
- Prohibiting officers from shooting at people in moving vehicles unless the person poses a deadly threat by means other than the vehicle (for example, shooting at people from the vehicle).
- Officers must exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force.
- Officers must intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force.
- Officers must report all uses of force, including threatening a person with a firearm.
“These are critical steps we must take and we must take now. We must work to build trust between police and all they serve. We must undo the systems that have caused pain, suffering, and loss of life in communities of color. This is a first step, we must strive every day to do better,” the mayor says in the release.