David Strouthers, who faced off a police dog during the Aug. 20 rally against military recruitment in Oakland (see above), showed up at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Citizen Police Review Board in hopes of discussing his arrest that of three fellow protesters. He was disappointed, however, to find that there was little discussion among board members about the rally. The Board tabled its discussion, looking instead into creating a public roundtable involving -- they hope -- the police and representatives of various civil liberties organizations.
Elizabeth Pittinger, the Board's executive director, saying the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police lacked an official crowd-control policy, likened the situation to "going to a football game and not giving the rules to the refs or the media."
Board members noted that no protester had yet filed a complaint with the board, but Strouthers said he and his peers could not give sworn statements until their criminal proceedings were finished. Pittinger doubted the board would ever see complaints from the arrestees, "sometimes under the advice of their lawyer," she said, "or from fear that they think police may threaten retaliation."
Pittinger also said police had a "good, well written policy" on Taser use, without commenting on the specific uses of the Taser on Aug. 20. CPRB has been on the record since last year in full support of Pittsburgh police using Tasers; its report is on the Web site: www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cprb/.