ACTING CHIEF REGINA MCDONALD
Responding to accusations made by Northview Heights Citizens Council President Valerie Lauw that an officer involved in an arrest on her street threatened her with a drawn gun, Pittsburgh police have looked at the security tapes and found no such thing.
Acting Chief Regina McDonald said the tapes provided by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh show most of end of the Aug. 7 pursuit and arrest of Victor Pinkston, and also fail to support charges he was brutalized.
“Our tech sergeant put together video from 15 cameras and none show anyone pointing a gun at Ms. Lauw. “What it does show is her trying to insert herself into a police chase.”
The video shows Lauw running out of her house as the chase went by her Hazlett Street home followed by another woman, who police assume was her daughter, trying to hold her back.
“You can see the actor is apprehended after an officer tackled him, and you can see her continuing to run down to the scene,” said McDonald. “You can see a detective motioning her away from the scene, and the other female trying to keep her from the action, but she continued. At no time was a weapon pointed at her.”
The video also shows no batons, guns, Tasers or weapons of any kind used to subdue Pinkston.
“When the officer tackled him, he fell face down and broke his glasses, so he got some small cuts from that,” she said. “But he was resisting by keeping his hands underneath him so he couldn’t be handcuffed. Officers kneed him several times to free his arms, they cuffed him. The video also clearly shows him throwing away the 35 bricks of heroin he had as he was running.”
McDonald said she had never seen actions like Lauw’s before.
“It could have been very dangerous for her and others, and the officers,” she said. “That someone would try to inject themselves into a police chase is bizarre.”
Lauw maintains, as she did in the Aug. 14 edition of the New Pittsburgh Courier that she was threatened with a gun and that Pinkston was viciously beaten.
Citizens Police Review Board Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger said she is investigating Lauw’s allegations, but has yet to view the surveillance footage.
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