PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An incident at a Pittsburgh playground last month led to a peaceful protest today on the Greenfield Bridge.
Police stood by and watched as around a hundred demonstrators held signs and waved to rush hour drivers. The protesters made no attempt to disrupt traffic.
This protest stemmed from a confrontation that happened a couple of weeks ago in a Greenfield playground when a 46-year-old white firefighter, Thomas D’Andrea, pinned a 13-year-old African American boy to the ground because he said he thought the boy was vandalizing a parked truck nearby.
Demonstrators lined the Greenfield Bridge near the playground where the incident happened. D’Andrea is facing misdemeanor charges after a video surfaced of him pinning the child on a piece of playground equipment.
“Can you please get off my brother?” his sister pleads in the video.
“I can’t until the police get here,” D’Andrea replies.
“His mouth is bleeding, he has asthma, please get off my brother,” she shouts.
Protest on the Greenfield Bridge stemming from that recent confrontation at a Greenfield playground between a 46 yr old city firefighter and a 13 yr old boy.
Teen’s mother says charges firefighter is facing amount to “a slap in the face.”
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Cellphone video of the incident has angered people, even though the firefighter is already facing charges of simple assault and criminal mischief.
Demonstrators say the playground incident underscores a larger problem of racism. Among those at the protest: the boy’s mother and City Councilman Corey O’Connor.
The boy’s mother, Shalaya McGovern, wants the misdemeanor charges upgraded to felony charges.
“I don’t think he has enough charges, I honestly think that he needs to pay for this,” she says.
“The charges he were given were like a slap in the face. I think they should be felony charges.”
City Councilman O’Connor thinks that the situation should have been handled differently.
“There’s ways to handle certain situations,” he says.
“I can’t speak for what Tom was going through in that moment. Obviously, we like people to act a little differently especially when confronting children.”