WILKINSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Six people killed, including an unborn child the night of March 9, 2016 at a backyard cookout in Wilkinsburg.
It sent shockwaves through the community where it happened and prompted Wilkinsburg Mayor Marita Garrett to voice her unhappiness on Facebook.
“Since the beginning, this case has been shrouded with uncertainty, inconsistencies, and now unsolved murders that further traumatizes the families and our communities,” the post reads in part.
“The Allegheny County Police Department and Allegheny County District Attorney’s office should be held accountable for their lack of oversight and protocol,” the post goes on.
“This only deepens the fracture of trust in law enforcement at a time when we are dealing with the gun violence epidemic.”
“Moving forward, I implore the District Attorney’s office and Allegheny County Police Department to recognize their egregious missteps and take actions to ensure this does not happen again.
She also comments about a witness who she claims was forced to lie for money.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough responded to the Facebook post, saying this witness, identified as Kendall Mikell, came forward on his own accord, was never a paid informant of county police and was never forced or told to lie during any testimony.
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McDonough went on to say he was disappointed Mayor Garrett didn’t contact him or members of his command staff with any questions or concerns before publicly posting “one version of events.”
His statement says in part:
“In the words of the elected official’s Facebook posting: ‘The reckless handling of the case has a severely negative and hurtful impact.’ I would remind this official as well as any others who assert or publish inaccurate aspersions on law enforcement agencies: lives also depend on ‘trust in law enforcement at a time when we are dealing with gun violence epidemic.’ To damage that trust without due regard for the truth is reckless and irresponsible.
“The men and women of the Allegheny County Police put their lives and their reputations on the line every day in service to every citizen in this county. They do not deserve to be subjected to unfair and uncorroborated attacks in any public forum. Despite these attacks, they will continue to serve with honor and integrity, and respond to calls for assistance from every community beleaguered by violent crime.”
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office said in a full statement:
“Our sympathies continue to go out to those victimized by this horrendous crime, their families, extended families and friends.
We are not sure what officials in Wilkinsburg are trying to communicate, but we understand the sense of their failure to adequately protect their citizens and empower them to stand up against criminal conduct.
That’s why we should be beyond political rhetoric at this point and instead should be focused on formulating solutions.”
After officials responded, Mayor Garrett took to Facebook once more, saying she stands by her statement regarding the DA’s office.
“To isolate Black communities from justice and equitable treatment is the true failure,” she says, before extending an invitation to the DA and the DA’s office to join her at a public safety forum.