Greenfield neighborhood advocate arrested on assault charges of a 13-year-old boy | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Greenfield neighborhood advocate arrested on assault charges of a 13-year-old boy

click to enlarge Greenfield neighborhood advocate arrested on assault charges of a 13-year-old boy
Screenshot taken from Facebook
Tom D'Andrea pinning the 13-year-old boy in Greenfield
Videos show a Greenfield resident and a well-known neighborhood advocate pinning a 13-year-old boy to the top of a playground and yelling expletives as the boy’s sister and others record videos of him on their cell phones. The incident took place on June 25 at the playground on Four Mile Run Road in Greenfield.

On June 26, Tom D’Andrea was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors.

D’Andrea is a resident of Four Mile Run who has been active in advocating against a proposed autonomous shuttle transit line that would travel through the secluded Greenfield neighborhood. D’Andrea is also listed as a committee person for the Greenfield Community Association.

Pittsburgh Police also say D'Andrea is a City of Pittsburgh firefighter who has been placed on administrative leave.

In a video released by the 13-year-old boy’s family to media site The Root, D’Andrea is shown on top of the teen and saying he has to remain there until the police arrive. D’Andrea claimed in the video that the 13-year-old punched him in the head and assaulted him.

The 13-year-old boy’s sister recorded the encounter and pleaded with D’Andrea to get off of her brother. The 13-year-old says in the video that D’Andrea ran up to him and assaulted him before pinning him down.

In a particularly tense part of the video, the boy’s sister asks D’Andrea to get off the 13-year-old boy:

“Can you please get off my brother?” the sister asked.

“I am holding him. I am not hurting him,” said D’Andrea.

“I am gonna hold him, his mouth his bleeding, he has asthma. Can you please get off my brother?” she said.

“I don’t give a fuck, he just assaulted me. Get away from me now or I am going to hit you too,” said D’Andrea.

“No you will not, I will fucking ..." said the 13-year-old boy.

“Is your asthma working up, is your asthma fucking up again?” said D’Andrea.

The boy’s mother, Shalayla McGovern told The Root that the incident started when the 13-year-old noticed a friend of his crying in an abandoned construction truck that was parked outside the Four Mile Run park. McGovern and her family live in Four Mile Run. The 13-year-old boy eventually got his friend to exit the truck. McGovern said that was when D’Andrea noticed the teenagers and he “assumed they were vandalizing” the truck and then D’Andrea called the police.

McGovern says the police never showed, and he called again, but there was no response.

McGovern said this is when D’Andrea confronted the 13-year-old boy and said D’Andrea then punched the 13-year-old in the mouth and the boy punched back.

“He got upset because my son hit him back,” McGovern told The Root. “He thought that because he was an adult he could put his hands on someone and the child wasn’t gonna do anything. The next thing you know, they’re on top of the slide. He pins my son down, threatens my daughter ... Thankfully my daughter had enough sense to record it.”

D’Andrea told WPXI that the 13-year-old was the one who struck him first. His wife told WPXI that D’Andrea is the real victim. WPXI reported that the 13-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital after the incident with a lump on his head, swollen lips, a bloody mouth, and was having trouble breathing due to his asthma.

According to the Pittsburgh Police, Zone 4 officers responded to the calls and found an adult male holding down a juvenile male on the playground equipment. Officers then immediately ordered the adult to release the juvenile, according to a press release.

Pittsburgh Police didn't witness the alleged assaults that both the adult and juvenile claimed against one another. Officers then continued to investigate the case and on June 29, applied for a warrant to charge D'Andrea, which the Allegheny County District attorney approved.

According to the press release, D'Andrea is a City of Pittsburgh firefighter and has been placed on administrative leave. Pittsburgh's Office of Municipal Investigations is investigating the matter.

In another video, D’Andrea is asked why he didn’t call the police to allege the boy was vandalizing property and then wait in his home for the police to arrive. He then repeats that he was “assaulted by a teenager.”

According to The Root, neighbors shared texts and Facebook messages that indicate D’Andrea has acted similarly in the past when confronting people at the park. Court records show in 2013, D’Andrea was charged with summary harassment, but those charges were dismissed.

D’Andrea also won an election in 2014 to serve as an Allegheny County Democratic Committee member in Pittsburgh’s 15th ward. It is unclear if he was re-elected or re-appointed in 2018, as election records show no 2018 candidates for the 9th District of the Pittsburgh’s 15th Ward. A call to the 15th Ward chair was not returned by press time.

Editor's note: This story original stated that a member of the Greenfield Community Association asked that D'Andrea resign from his committee person role at the organization, citing a Facebook screenshot. GCA vice president Joseph Pegher told City Paper that D'Andrea is not a member, and has never been a member or a committee person of the GCA and has no association with the group.