Downtown Pittsburgh Traffic A Mess As Protesters Take To Streets

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pitt...

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, with the new corporate logo of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traffic jams around U.S. Steel Tower delayed Monday-morning commuters as hundreds of activists staged a loud protest against UPMC.

Pittsburgh police said they expect more demonstrators to arrive during the day. An estimated 600 had gathered by about 11:30 a.m., said police spokeswoman Sonya Toler. None had been arrested or cited as police blocked both northbound lanes of Grant Street at Steel Tower to handle the group.

“We have a bit of gridlock throughout town,” said Toler, who described the crowd as “mannerable” and “well behaved.” Police will decide later when to reopen the Grant Street lanes, though they were trying to reopen at least one as soon as they can, she said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5695344-74/upmc-service-activists#ixzz2uvS97DRf
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1 Killed, 4 Wounded In Homewood Bar Shooting

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One person was shot to death and four others wounded inside a Homewood bar early Saturday, city police said.

When police and medics arrived at the Rendezvous Phase III bar, in the 7200 block of Hamilton Ave., about 1:20 a.m., bar patrons were fleeing the scene, according to a statement from police.

Police found Vincent Edward Holt Jr., 27, of Homewood dead inside the bar.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5685313-74/bar-shooting-examiner#ixzz2ulk0I0G5
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Man Dies In North Side Bar Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One man died and another was injured in a shooting at an East Allegheny bar early this morning.

Donald Lowry, 46, died at Allegheny General Hospital at 1:25 a.m., about 25 minutes after the shooting, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office. Another man, whose name has not been released, was treated at the hospital for a gunshot wound to the buttocks.

Pittsburgh police were called to JR’s Bar about 1 a.m. for a report that a man with a silver pistol shot Mr. Lowry multiple times, according to a news release from Major Crimes Lt. Daniel Herrmann.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/man-dies-in-north-side-bar-shooting-708107/#ixzz2i5o1jncH

Pittsburgh Police Arrest Teenager In East Busway Killing, Search For Others

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police said today they have arrested one teenager and are looking for leads on two other people in connection with the killing and robbery last week of a man in Homewood along the East Busway.

Police said Jordan Bey, 16, of Homewood shot Omar Islam, 21, once in the leg, five times in the back and once in the head while Mr. Islam waited for a bus.

Detectives arrested Jordan at relative’s home in Duquesne on Monday night.

Detectives are also looking for Desmond Young, 20, of Homewood, who has not been charged but who is listed in court documents as conspiring with Jordan and for leads on a Homewood man known to police only as “Blue.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-police-arrest-boy-16-in-east-busway-killing-707666/#ixzz2hpRCKjD7

Residents Of Homewood Search For Alternative To Demolishing Houses

Locator map with the Homewood North neighborho...

Locator map with the Homewood North neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Homewood‘s sense of place is eroding so fast that 184 homes have been razed since 2011 and another 232 are condemned. Residents are torn. They value the building stock that attests to better days, but blight is outpacing opportunities to save what’s viable.

Just in time for the neighborhood’s biggest investment in decades, Operation Better Block staff began a door-to-door campaign to motivate hundreds of residents to face this crisis by helping to plan housing strategies.

“Demolition was the only recourse people thought we had,” said Jerome Jackson, executive director of Operation Better Block. Even if it is, he added, people need information to be comfortable with that.

A neighborhood advocacy nonprofit since 1971, Operation Better Block initiated a resident-driven plan for the use of vacant land and buildings two years ago in a test area of 46 parcels near Pittsburgh Faison K-5. The school was a crucial reason to strengthen that area, which is also near the East Busway and the ripest area for investment.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/residents-of-homewood-search-for-alternative-to-demolishing-houses-706527/#ixzz2h3n9teMY

Man Stabbed Outside Whim Nightclub In Station Square Parking Lot

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One man was critically wounded when another stabbed him outside Whim Nightclub in Station Square this morning, Pittsburgh police said.

Officers arrested Brion R. Harrison, 20, no address listed, on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime.

Mr. Harrison told police he went to Whim and, as the bar closed, approached several people, including the 20-year-old Homestead man he is now accused of stabbing.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/man-stabbed-injured-in-station-square-parking-lot-706181/#ixzz2glxW7Ywz

Graffiti Artists Foul Ground Near Point State Park Fowl

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police this morning arrested a man for spray-painting graffiti near the giant rubber duck currently floating in the Allegheny River at Point State Park.

The 40-foot-tall rubber duck, which arrived in Pittsburgh last week, was not damaged.

A security guard stationed to monitor the floating faux water fowl told police he thought he heard a spray can hit the ground and then saw two people spraying on the sidewalk, according to a news release from police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

Both people ran, but police later caught Ryan Sigesmund, 34, whose address they did not know.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/grafitti-artists-foul-ground-near-near-point-state-park-fowl-705820/#ixzz2gckkdtcL

Man Arrested In Shooting Death In Hill District

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police arrested a man late Thursday in connection with the shooting death of a man with gang ties last week in the Hill District.

Jay Morrison, 37, is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of criminal homicide and a firearms violation in the killing of Harold Cabbagestalk, 40.

Morrison was arrested about 11:35 p.m. at Lady Di’s bar in Homewood based on a lead from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, Pittsburgh police major crimes unit Lt. Daniel Hermann said in a press release.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/man-arrested-in-shooting-death-in-hill-district-705143/#ixzz2g718m2HT

Two Stabbed, One Critically, In Fight At Pittsburgh ‘South Side’ Bar

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An altercation at Levelz Sports Lounge in the South Side early today led to one man being critically stabbed and another having his hand cut when he tried to intervene, Pittsburgh police reported.

The suspect in the stabbings, Manuel Carde Freiria, 40, of South Side, was taken into custody by both on-duty and off-duty police officers, said police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

According to a criminal complaint, witnesses saw Mr. Freiria stab Jay Barbour, an off-duty Levelz employee, during a scuffle that occurred after Mr. Barbour asked Mr. Carde Freiria not to smoke inside of the establishment.  Mr. Barbour was stabbed in the abdomen so severely that witnesses saw him holding his entrails to his body.  He was transferred to Mercy Hospital in critical condition.

The second victim, Seth Edmunds, was stabbed in the right hand trying to break up the fight. He also was treated at Mercy.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/two-stabbed-one-critically-in-fight-at-south-side-bar-697106/#ixzz2aIg5Scxn

Home Team: Pittsburgh Police Should Live In The City

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A change in state law has opened the door to eliminating a requirement that Pittsburgh police officers live in the city they are sworn to protect.

That door should be slammed shut.

Last year, a state law that said Pittsburgh police officers “shall” reside within the city was softened to say that officers “may” do so. That language would be completely meaningless — of course officers may live in the city — but for the City Code, which includes a residency provision that applies to all city employees.

The change in state law provided an opening for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 to challenge the requirement, and during a recent arbitration hearing, dozens of current and former officers testified in support of abolishing the residency rule.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/home-team-pittsburgh-police-should-live-in-the-city-694537/#ixzz2YOLcFVHT

Pittsburgh City Council Approves Security Cameras For Homewood

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After heated discussion, Pittsburgh City Council passed two bills to install surveillance cameras and a gunshot detection system in a three square mile area in Homewood at a cost of $1.15 million.

The bills were sponsored by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who said recent violence in the East End underscores the need for the surveillance cameras and the gunshot detection system, which has the ability to pinpoint the location of gunshots and notify authorities.

Councilman Patrick Dowd and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak opposed the package of bills.  Ms. Rudiak said she was concerned about how the project was proposed and funded.  The money for the project will come from the 2014 capital budget, banking on the fact the city will likely run a surplus this year.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-city-council-approves-security-cameras-for-homewood-685652/#ixzz2Rz6U5M4S

City Controller Michael Lamb Conducting Broad Audit Of Pittsburgh Police Bureau

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb quietly launched a broad audit of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police last week, according to communications obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette under the state right-to-know law.

The controller’s office launched the performance audit — which, as opposed to a fiscal audit, can go beyond dollars — through an email of March 21 to acting police Chief Regina McDonald.  The email said preliminary objectives include “secondary employment and staffing.”  The first meeting with Chief McDonald occurred Wednesday.

Other communications between top controller’s office officials and top police brass show that auditors launched a review of the police Premium Pay Account on Feb. 8 by emailing bureau personnel and finance manager Sandra J. Ganster.  On Feb. 9, Ms. Ganster brought her concerns about the alleged diversion of funds meant for that account to public safety director Michael Huss, her attorney has said.  The alleged misapplication of funds meant for the account last week became the centerpiece of the criminal case against former police Chief Nate Harper.

“It does appear that our [inquiry] is what prompted a whistle-blower to step forward,” Controller Michael Lamb said.  “I think that the work that we’ve done has helped to unveil this scandal.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/city-controller-michael-lamb-conducting-broad-audit-of-pittsburgh-police-bureau-681299/#ixzz2OwWQ6pb9

Pittsburgh Officer’s January Memo Alerted Police Command Of Fund Diversion

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson ordered a secret credit union account to be shut down after learning of its existence in January from then-Assistant Chief Regina McDonald, he said Friday night.

The deputy chief confirmed that he has been cooperating with federal investigators probing the flow of funds into the Pittsburgh police bureau‘s personnel and finance office and has been interviewed by the FBI.

In January, Deputy Chief Donaldson said, Assistant Chief McDonald, who is now acting police chief, approached him after being made aware that an officer at police headquarters had written a formal memo documenting concerns about potentially questionable financial practices involving colleagues.

The memo, obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was dated Jan. 18 from Officer Christie A. Gasiorowski to her supervisor, Sgt. Carol Ehlinger.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-officers-january-memo-alerted-police-command-of-fund-diversion-678558/#ixzz2N3QmJVuw

Pittsburgh Police Bureau’s Finance Chief Claims Harper Told Her To Divert Funds

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Now it’s going to start “hitting the fan”.  This is gonna get way worse before it gets better.

The attorney for the Pittsburgh Police Bureau‘s finance manager said Thursday his client was instructed by former chief Nate Harper to open a credit union account now under federal scrutiny and followed his orders in diverting tens of thousands of dollars to it from funds meant for the City of Pittsburgh.

William H. Difenderfer represents police personnel and finance manager Sandra J. Ganster, who, he said, reported her concerns about the account to city Public Safety Director Michael Huss on Feb. 9.  He said his client has since spoken twice to federal authorities.

“The chief would tell her, basically, keep roughly a $3,000 balance in this account,” Mr. Difenderfer said.  “Like she said, I guess the best way to describe it was, ‘It had an odor, but the chief directed me to do it, and I did what he told me to do.’  She didn’t feel comfortable with it … but obviously complied.”

He estimated that between $28,000 and $37,000 was diverted to the credit union account since about 2008 or 2009 when the account was opened.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/police-bureaus-finance-chief-claims-harper-told-her-to-divert-police-funds-678454/#ixzz2My5KUCyn

Pittsburgh Officials Keeping Search For Police Chief Under Wraps

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as quietly as police brass have begun making changes at headquarters, city officials have begun their search for a new chief to head the bureau at the center of a federal investigation.

Few details have been released about the search for someone to succeed former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper, who resigned under pressure last week after the mayor met with federal authorities.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and public safety director Mike Huss have said only that they prefer an outside candidate, they have “no plans” to hire an outside search firm and they plan to consult the police union.

Groups that conduct searches for police chiefs say the process, when done thoroughly, can take months and can be especially tricky for a bureau under intense scrutiny.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-officials-keeping-search-for-police-chief-under-wraps-677360/#ixzz2MJE8FYGH

Pittsburgh’s Acting Police Chief Takes More Action; Ravenstahl Defends His Reputation

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A tumultuous week in the Pittsburgh police bureau ended Friday with the acting chief promising to create an additional layer of oversight for the office at the center of a federal investigation.

Effective Monday, the personnel and finance office will report directly to the assistant chief of administration. It had done so until 2010, when former Chief Nate Harper ordered it to report directly to him for reasons that remain unclear.

“It was something that a number of chiefs felt,” Chief Regina McDonald said, referring to the desire to move the office out from under the chief’s direct command. “No unit should report directly to the chief or deputy chief. It protects the chain of command.”

Chief McDonald, on her second day in the bureau’s top spot, said additional changes could come next week but declined to specify what they might be. She said her focus moving forward will be to repair the bureau’s reputation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburghs-acting-police-chief-takes-more-action-ravenstahl-defends-his-reputation-676540/#ixzz2LkTfJr8J

Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief McDonald Says Changes Coming To Bureau

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acting Pittsburgh police Chief Regina McDonald said FBI agents interviewed her today and that people can expect to see changes in the bureau within the next week.

Chief McDonald, a 32-year veteran of the force, would not specify what those changes will be or comment on the futures of those working in the office being investigated by the FBI or involved in a side business with former Chief Nate Harper, who resigned Wednesday at the request of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

She said her primary goal will be to reestablish the ethics and integrity of the bureau.

“I guess you depend on the integrity of the people you put in various positions,” Chief McDonald said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-local/acting-pittsburgh-police-chief-mcdonald-says-changes-coming-to-bureau-676347/#ixzz2LZo4U4jY

31 New Police Officers Are Now On Pittsburgh’s Streets

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty-eight-year-old Dennis Ammer spent five years driving a Port Authority bus, so his first police chase behind the wheel of a squad car was a thrilling change of pace.

“You’re going fast and trying to be aware of traffic, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen,” Officer Ammer said. “It’s sort of an adrenaline rush.”

Affectionately called “Pops” by his fellow recruits, Officer Ammer was by 20 years the oldest “rookie” sworn onto Pittsburgh’s police force Thursday, an iron worker-turned-bus-driver-turned cop.

City officers can only stay on the job until they turn 65.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/31-new-officers-are-now-on-pittsburghs-streets-639486/#ixzz1xDpBpKQZ