By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has officially responded after around 300 protesters marched to his house and held a demonstration on his street.
You can read his full statement below:
“I have long defended First Amendment rights to peaceably protest. I strongly believe that Black Lives Matter, that we are in a historic fight for civil rights in this country, and that it is right for people to take to the streets to demand much-needed reforms to policing in our cities.
What I cannot defend is any neighborhood in our city — and their residents and families — being disturbed through the night and morning, and a peaceful protest devolving into unacceptable conduct in which residents are being harassed and threatened. This crosses a line that cannot be allowed to continue, causing those committing crimes against residents to face possible legal consequences for their actions. Using protests to create conflict and division, as some are doing, only impacts the ability of others to exercise their constitutional rights safely.
I am working to make Pittsburgh a better city for all, and I have condemned and halted the arrest methods Pittsburgh Police used last weekend. I understand that people are feeling fear, pain and anger in our communities, and that some want to take their frustrations out on me. I fully accept that, but I will not accept unjustified actions that threaten neighbors in any part of the city.”
Protesters are calling for the Mayor’s resignation following the controversial arrest of 25-year-old Matthew Cartier on Saturday. Officers in plain clothes arrested Cartier and put him in an unmarked van. Eyewitness call the arrest a “public kidnapping,” and organizers have cited worries about the police interference in protests. Pittsburgh Police say that there has been an ongoing breakdown in communication and that many protesters are failing to communicate their protest routes in advance.
On Tuesday evening, KDKA found that around 300 people were partaking in the protest outside of Peduto’s home.
The protest from yesterday evening led well into Wednesday morning, lasting a total of 15 hours. Pittsburgh Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday and protesters dispersed without incident.