Protesters gather in Greenfield following alleged assault by Pittsburgh firefighter of 13-year-old boy | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Protesters gather in Greenfield following alleged assault by Pittsburgh firefighter of 13-year-old boy

click to enlarge Protesters gathered on the Greenfield Bridge - CP PHOTO: EMILY WOLFE
CP photo: Emily Wolfe
Protesters gathered on the Greenfield Bridge
About 60 people gathered today on the Greenfield Bridge to protest a recent altercation between a 13-year-old boy and a 46-year-old Pittsburgh firefighter Tom D’Andrea.

D’Andrea was charged with assault after the incident on Four Mile Run Road on June 25. A viral video showed D’Andrea, a white man, straddling and holding down a 13-year-old Black boy at a Greenfield playground. The boy’s 16-year-old sister, who filmed the video, can be heard pleading with D’Andrea to release her brother and telling the man he has asthma.

“I don’t give a fuck, he just assaulted me,” D’Andrea can be heard telling her in the video. "Get away from me now or I am going to hit you too.”

When the police arrived on the scene, D’Andrea told them that he saw the 13-year-old vandalizing a construction truck, told the boy he had called the police, and gave him a head start to run, according to a police affidavit reviewed by WESA. The boy and his sister, meanwhile, say they were sitting in the truck when D’Andrea told them he had called the police. The boy and D’Andrea both told police that the other swung the first blow.

The affidavit said the boy had “a swollen lip and some dried blood around his mouth” when talking to police, WESA reported. D’Andrea was eventually charged and arrested.

Protesters gathered on a sidewalk at 4 p.m. and were instructed to let passersby through. They held Black Lives Matter signs and other signs reading “Stop Hurting Black People.” The protesters stood on the sidewalk as traffic drove by, with some drivers showing them approval for their actions.

The gathering was mainly to show support for the family of the 13-year-old boy and to recognize the racism inherent in many violent events against Black people in America, according to protest organizer Abby Rae LaCombe. She asked for there to be a “more active white support” following events like the alleged assault.

"The first goal of the protest is for white people to remember that crime against Black people by police officers and vigilante Americans is not just a Black American problem, that’s an American problem,” said LaCombe.

Shalayla McGovern, the stepmother of the 13-year-old boy, also spoke at the protest, but was not involved in the organization. "Our kids deserve to play, our kids deserve to exist,” said McGovern. “Why is it any different because our skin is black?"

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