PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police officers lined Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh on the first day of the trial of a man accused of killing three Pittsburgh police officers.

“We’re here to finish the job that began that day,” Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Charles Henderson said. “We’ve brought the accused in to be tried by a jury of his peers.”

Some would call it a show of force, but to those who gathered, this was not about the defendant, Richard Poplawski. It was about those whose lives he took.

“Stephen Mayhle, Paul Sciullo and Eric Kelly directly worked for me,” Henderson said. “They were three fine men who were taken for no apparent reason.”

In grey and blue they lined the street as the officers’ families arrived in a Pittsburgh police van.

“We’re all one big family and we just want the families to know we’re here for them and we’ll stand with them, we grieve with them and we’ll heal with them,” Pittsburgh Police Commander Scott Schubert said.

As the case against Poplawski plays out on the witness stand, the families and the officers who join them will be confronted with the gruesome details of that Saturday morning in Stanton Heights in April of 2009.

Their focus will not be on the verdict alone.

“What his penalty will be for these heinous crimes that he did commit,” Pittsburgh Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson said.

Police officers from Moon Township, Ross Township, City Of Pittsburgh and State police were represented.

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