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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for Jan. 8

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 8:57 AM

For Pittsburgh police, the death of Ka'Sandra Wade is shaping up to be what Curtis Mitchell's death was for city paramedics: a tragic death that could raise some uncomfortable questions about how public safety works in this town. The Post-Gazette has more details on how police handled an earlier 9-1-1 call from Wade, a call which resulted in a police visit that was turned away by her apparent killer -- who refused to let them inside or answer questions. The P-G reports that based on a review of 9-1-1 logs, when they came to the door, "The officers ... knew the caller was female. They knew the woman was calm at first. They were told that there was some sort of commotion. And they knew the line had been disconnected." The Tribune-Review, meanwhile, suggests that the officers responding had little in the way of policy to guide them.

Incidentally, there has already been some outrage over how police handled early press inquiries into Wade's death. When P-G reporters contacted the Bureau of Police, the bureau -- apparently at the specific instruction of police chief Nate Harper -- forwarded their e-mail query to just about every other reporter in town. (The bureau routinely requires reporters to send questions in writing.) We may have more on this later, but for now suffice it to say I've been in this business for more than 15 years, and have never seen anything quite like this. And if the idea was to somehow dissuade the P-G from working the story, well ... clearly it didn't work.

Other local police departments, meanwhile, have their own problems. KDKA turns up video that suggests Millvale police tased a man in handcuffs while he was in custody. Footage may be slightly disturbing.

PNC Bank is one of ten national banks entering an $8.5 billion settlement to resolve claims that they cut corners when foreclosing on mortgages. (PNC had previously declared a moratorium on evictions.) Plenty of folks think the banks got off easy.

Here's a big surprise: most voters approve of Tom Corbett's decision to sue the NCAA over the Penn State's sanctions, but they still think Corbett himself is a mook.

In other not-so-surprising news, an advocacy group that pushes charter-schools and other teacher-unfriendly reforms gives a failing grade to Pennsylvania's school-reform efforts. Thirty-one other states did even worse, though, so maybe they were grading on a (downward) curve?

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