The dog-bite victim in the Aug. 20 anti-military recruitment protest in Oakland got her charge dismissed on Dec. 7 when the judge didn't buy police explanation that it was her own fault -- that, in Pittsburgh K-9 officer Christian Sciulli's words, "She stepped too close to where the dog was."
Carole Wiedmann, of Ohio Township, had faced the second-degree misdemeanor charge of failure to disperse after Sciulli's German shepherd bit at Wiedmann as she retreated with more than 100 protesters in front of the military recruiting station on Forbes Avenue. Defense attorney Mike Healey argued that she was bitten merely because she was stuck at the back of the crowd.
Sciulli's recollection of the incident -- that Wiedmann was seated on Forbes prior to her arrest, and that she was protesting the need to move -- jibed neither with eyewitness accounts nor with several videotapes of the incident. The tapes show Wiedmann speaking very briefly to David Strouthers, who was arrested after facing off with the dog while cross-legged on the sidewalk, but otherwise retreating with the slow-moving crowd.
"The proof of the pudding ... is the pants were ripped in the rear," said Healey about Wiedmann, an argument that seemed to help District Magistrate Cathleen Cawood Bubash dismiss the charges.
This is the first of six arrests from the Aug. 20 protests to result in a positive verdict for the protesters. Strouthers earlier had pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser charge, and three others still face trial.
"This was the correct decision," said Wiedmann of the dismissal afterwards. "I really had done nothing wrong. My beef wasn't with the officer but with the system."