CROWD CONTROL—Public Safety Director Michael Huss, left, and Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess spoke with community members concerned about the arrest of Pittsburgh school teacher Dennis Henderson outside of the Zone 5 Police Station on June 26. (Photo by J.L. Martello)
Stewart said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and that the meeting was to get his, Henderson’s, and the witnesses’ accounts of what happened. He said Chief McDonald also discussed what an officer is legally able to do and said she was going to work on methods of training for new recruits so that these types of problems do not occur again.
Burgess, at an impromptu press conference addressing the communities’ questions at the Zone 5 police station on the night of the incident, said he was pleased with the way the meeting went and that it gave the community an opportunity to share their concerns directly with the police chief. He said they were able to discuss some needed changes, such as a structured change in training so that officers receive a more accurate understanding of the Black community and the need for a more coordinated response from the community that says there is a zero tolerance for violence and crime, and that the police’s involvement is wanted.
Burgess said he plans to form a working group to try and strategize some solutions.
NAACP President Constance Parker said, “I find this (incident) unbelievable. Here you have two upstanding gentlemen, coming from a community meeting, and then this happens. There’s a grave injustice that’s been done to both of these men. It’s unacceptable and cannot be swept under the rug.”
Parker said that although no one has as of yet reached out to the NAACP, they are there and ready to use their resources to help.
“What happened will continue to happen until we get society on the right page,” she said.
Although the July 1 meeting was only for certain individuals, the Community Empowerment Association scheduled an open forum on July 2 for members of the community to voice their opinions.
WHAT’S NEXT?—Members of the community met with Pittsburgh Bureau of Police administrators and other public officials at a closed community meeting, held on July 1, to discuss the next steps after the unlawful arrest of Dennis Henderson and harassment of Rossano Stewart. (Photo by Rossano Stewart)
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