PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An upcoming Beyoncé concert is causing controversy in Pittsburgh.
As the debate continues about whether there will be enough officers volunteering to work next week’s concert at Heinz Field, KDKA has learned the issue may be as much about friction between the police union and city officials as it is about the singer’s controversial tour.
According to a statement from Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay, enough officers have volunteered to work the concert, and no on-duty officers will be assigned to work the event.
This news comes after police sources told KDKA many officers refused to sign up to work the second-duty detail on May 31.
Chief McLay insists that the police force takes its responsibility seriously.
“The facilitation of the flow of traffic in the City of Pittsburgh is a foundational responsibility of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” he said in a statement. “The Police Bureau will ensure there are sufficient officers deployed to ensure citizens do not experience unreasonable traffic congestion or compromised traffic safety consistent with that responsibility.”
Law enforcement officials across the country have either boycotted Beyoncé’s “Formation” Tour or condemned the performer for what they call inflammatory lyrics with anti-police sentiments.
However, the head of the police union explains that there are other reasons officers would not want to work the event.
“They might just be tired. It’s a holiday weekend, they may just not want to work,” said Fraternal Order of Police President Bob Swartzwelder.
He insists there is not a Pittsburgh Police boycott of the Beyoncé concert.
However, while the police chief says there are enough people currently volunteering to work the concert, the union insists that is not the case, suggesting the chief is wrong.
“The city is telling them, ‘No, you don’t have that choice. You’re going to work it because we’re telling you you’re gonna work it,” Swartzwelder.
Some of the outrage can likely be attributed to backlash from the Pittsburgh Marathon, when officers were forced to work on scheduled days off to cover security.
The concert will be held May 31 at Heinz Field.