Questions Piling Up Amid Chief Harper’s Resignation
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A scandal within the Pittsburgh Police Department has resulted in Chief Nate Harper being out of a job.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had expressed support for the embattled chief, but that all changed after a meeting with federal authorities.
Harper’s lawyer said he leaves with a heavy heart, while Regina McDonald has been named the acting chief of the department.
Attorney Robert Del Greco is representing Harper and said that if a federal indictment comes, it will be a tough challenge. However, Harper is committed to clearing his name.
Last week, the FBI seized documents from the special events department at police headquarters and are investigating whether city funds were misappropriated, deposited into a city credit union account and improperly used.
“He has indicated to me that he has not involved himself in criminality and that he is resolved to court clear his good name,” Del Greco said.
There are questions about why the mayor appointed McDonald to acting chief as well. Under her previous position as assistant chief of administration, McDonald had oversight of the special events department, which is part of the federal probe.
Mayoral candidate, Bill Peduto, called what’s been going on in the city a culture of corruption.
“I don’t know her role specifically, especially given that it wasn’t just the special events office, but these accounts through the credit union. And if she had any part in that, I think the mayor should have asked that before making the assignment,” Peduto said.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was asked why Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson was not appointed to be the interim chief. Ravenstahl said it was because Donaldson was on vacation.
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