PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A war of words has erupted between the mayor of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County District Attorney, revolving around video that shows police officers in a fight with members of a motorcycle club in a South Side bar.
At first glance, the video is troubling. It led District Attorney Stephen Zappala to speak out earlier this week, “We have a problem with the management of the department.”
But, of Friday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto defended his police department and took aim at Zappala.
“I find his comments to be very unfortunate. It is not the first time that he had made statements such as this. But he has never substantiated it in any way with evidence,” said Peduto.
But surveillance tape of bikers and undercover cops brawling is troubling.
“I have a problem with it. You’re not talking about controlling a situation, you’re talking about trying to hurt somebody,” said Zappala.
“What I saw is troubling, with the escalation of force that didn’t seem to be warranted, but without full evidence of what actually happened, it’s very difficult to make that judgmental call,” Peduto said.
The other question in the investigation is, were the officers drinking heavily and should they have been?
“They shouldn’t be drinking at all,” said Zappala.
“If you are in a biker bar that is suspected of being a major trafficking area of illegal drugs, and you’re sitting there drinking tea, you are going to expose yourself and possibly put yourself into a life-threatening situation,” Peduto said. “A district attorney’s job is to investigate first, then comment, not comment and then do an investigation.”