By Marty Griffin

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper says there’s a criminal element at times to youth football in the city.

“The dice games, the gambling that was occurring around these events and that has to stop,” he said. “Firearms violations as well as shots being fired at these games.”

There have been two shootings at Stargell Field in Homewood in recent years during football games and at least three people have been injured by gunfire.

“We’re going to clean it up or else there will be no games,” Harper said.

People in the community say they are being picked on and singled out, claiming police brought a dozen dogs out last week, scaring the children.

“They filled the street up. They had dogs out. Nobody could even get back in the game. We couldn’t get back into the mood. It was terrible,” Sakina Reid said.

The chief fires back at anyone making claims about a dozen dogs and strong-armed tactics.

“There was one dog. The dog was muzzled across the street,” he said. “But then the more I thought about it, if you’re on drugs, you do see illusions, so.”

Last year, Renee Wright, with the youth football league, had a police escort bring a team out to play. She stands by the police chief and his enforcement plan.

“We are in 100 percent [agreement] with the City of Pittsburgh and Chief Harper’s recommendations,” she said.

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Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

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