Mayor Pittsburgh has “serious concerns” about the arrest of protesters by police in unmarked van

The mayor of Pittsburgh said he had “serious concerns” about the tactics used in the arrest of a 25-year-old protester on Saturday, CBS Pittsburgh reports. Matthew Cartier was almost certainly seen in video posted on social media was arrested and put in an unmarked order box by armed officers after allegedly breaking public safety.

The arrest took place Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Oakland neighborhood, where Cartier allegedly blocked an intersection that is being used for hospitals and the University of Pittsburgh. The Associated Press notes that Commander Ed Trapp of the Department of Commerce said Cartier was driving cars “without situational awareness” and feared a traffic accident would occur. AP said about 150 people were part of the march that began about one hour and 45 minutes before the arrest.

“The idea was a surgical maneuver to remove the person who was the problem and let the main protest march continue, which it did in fact,” Trapp said Sunday. Sergeant Donald Mitchell of the Civil Affairs Unit also said Saturday was an “arrival day for the University of Pittsburgh, so traffic was extremely heavy.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he had “serious concerns” about using what police call a “low visibility arrest.” CBS Pittsburgh said the mayor found out about the arrest “moments” after it happened.

“… That imagination, what people saw, scared them because they did not believe this was part of what Pittsburgh is,” Peduto said Sunday. “They saw officers get someone and throw them in a van, and they asked ‘Why?’ and they are right to ask ‘Why?’ “

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Sunday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

At Sunday’s press conference, Pittsburgh Director of Public Safety Wendell Hissrich said more than 100 demonstrations have taken place in Pittsburgh since the death of George Floyd and that this happens mostly on a weekly basis, according to CBS Pittsburgh. Security officials have said the meetings have become increasingly unsafe.

In response to the arrest, the mayor tweeted Saturday night that the city and the ACLU worked together to create codes to maintain the safety of the public. Peduto ek sei officials will “fully investigate operations by Pittsburgh Police.”

“The right to collect is a guaranteed right, the right to close public streets is a privilege. That privilege is sanctioned by laws and codes,” the mayor wrote. “In Pittsburgh we worked w ACLU & [Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board] create our codes. “

But the ACLU said Sunday that officials were “in clear violation of their own guidelines.”

“According to those who were there, the officers involved did not bother to work with protest leaders to clear the area and did not issue a clear dispersal order,” Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Instead, they threatened a protest leader to approach them and then kicked him out. The Pennsylvania ACLU has never suggested that the arrest of a peaceful and stash of a peaceful protester was ever acceptable.”

CBS Pittsburgh said that Cartier is facing the charge of obstruction of a highway or other public passage, disturbing behavior, and lack of dissemination.