Police use Tasers, dogs at local protest
On August 20, protestors clashed with police outside an Army recruiting station on Forbes Avenue in Oakland. Roughly 50 protestors, including students from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, had gathered to protest recruitment on Saturday morning.
However, after a protestor reportedly struck a television cameraman, University of Pittsburgh and city police moved in and used pepper spray, police dogs, and projectile Taser guns on the crowd. Nathan Shaffer, a University of Pittsburgh senior and member of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, said that when the conflict broke out "the police were keeping everyone on the sidewalk. People didn't really know what was going on."
Shaffer said that four people were arrested and taken into custody, including Carnegie Mellon senior Idris Robinson. One protestor was detained and cited, and one woman, 68-year-old Carole Wiedmann, was first detained and then taken to Presbyterian University Hospital after being bitten by a police dog.
Those who were arrested and jailed were released around 5 pm last Sunday according to Shaffer. Since then, protestors have also filed complaints with the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB), citing excessive force. "First and foremost," he added, "we want to make sure the charges are dropped."
There was also another demonstration outside the same office on Saturday. Shaffer said that there were roughly 120 protestors at the event, and that in attendance was City Councilman Doug Shields.
The protest went without incident. "There were a lot of police around though," Shaffer said.
University of Pittsburgh Police and city police were unavailable over the weekend for comment. City Police Chief Robert McNeilly Jr. told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that police reacted to the "actions of several participants who chose to turn the allegedly non-event into something that warranted police intervention in order to ensure public safety."
CMU Police Sergeant William Ricci said CMU police were not present at the protests.