PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper’s made his first publish comments since stepping down from the bureau.
And it was on the witness stand at a trial.
Harper, as well as Assistant Chief George Trosky and the city of Pittsburgh, are defendants in a case of a man who says he was harassed by a Pittsburgh Police officer.
Harper hadn’t been seen since he stepped down last month, but he took to the witness stand in a civil suit from a man who says the city didn’t keep a former detective in check after a case of road rage three years ago.
Jarrett Fate, 32, had a run-in with then-detective Bradley Walker who, according to the lawsuit, chocked Fate, vandalized his car and pointed his city-issued gun at him.
The lawsuit contends the city had an obligation to get Walker off the streets.
Harper was the chief at the time.
“Our case is that we have a detective on the force, Brad Walker who committed 36 some assaults, our client was number 36,” attorney Josh Autry said. “He should have been terminated when he assaulted other people.”
Walker was not on duty at the time he was involved in the fender-bender with Fate. But the lawsuit argues, because of his pattern of abusive behaviors, he should have been removed from duty much earlier. And that his police superiors turned a blind eye to behavior unbecoming of a police officer.
“It’s an issue that starts with leadership,” Autry said. “If you tell officers that it’s okay to do this kind of stuff, you’re going to get a slap on the wrist, they’re going to play a shell game maybe we’re going to reassign you, but we’ll give you your gun back and you can go back out there and maybe assault somebody else.”
The suit is directed at the city and police leadership – not Walker – who has since been terminated from the force.
“It’s hard to say whether someone wasn’t disciplined because they were friends with the chief, or they’re not keeping track of the records real well,” Autry said. “They had the evidence. These incidents were investigated, they had the evidence to fire him and they didn’t do it.”