PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says changes are being made following a controversial arrest in Oakland that sparked anger within the city.
Activists are angry and frustrated, and feel that they don’t have Peduto’s support and they would like that to change.
However, Peduto tells KDKA these organizers have refused to meet to discuss ways to make changes.
Peduto also says he is “livid” when it comes to the video that has gone viral showing plainclothes officers putting Matthew Cartier in a white van.
This happened during a protest in Oakland over the weekend.
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- Pittsburgh Police Arrest Man During Protests In Oakland
Police say that was done for safety reasons.
But Cartier’s attorney, public defender Lisa Middleman, called the tactic ‘excessive’ and for the charges against Cartier to be dropped.
This most recent arrest had the president of Black, Young & Educated speak out to the media Monday.
The group claims Peduto has not reached out to their organization and has never attended a ‘Civil Saturday’ protest.
Another member from the group said that Public Safety has not reached out to their organization since June 27.
When KDKA asked Peduto about what happened, he says the organizers won’t meet with city officials.
“Our officers have reached out to them to have meetings to sit down and try find common ground. They have refused. Our task force for police reform has invited them to the table to add their voice,” Peduto said.
Peduto went on to say that change happens when people work together, noting that it’s always been that way and will always be that way.
During a one-on-one interview with Peduto, KDKA’s Meghan Schiller asked him to explain a tweet he posted about transparency and quickly providing information.
WATCH: KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Talks One-On-One With Mayor Peduto
After the back and forth that took place over the use of tear gas during a protest in East Liberty in June, Peduto says he wants to speak to the Pittsburgh Police officers involved in Matthew Cartier’s arrest.
Peduto says on Sunday he met with the officers on the ground and those in command during the ‘Civil Saturday’ protest hosted by “Black, Young, and Educated.”
Peduto says he was livid after seeing the pictures and video of Pittsburgh police using the so-called “low-visibility” arrest tactic to take Cartier in for two misdemeanor charges.
After speaking with the officers and watching more than an hour’s worth of body camera footage, Peduto told KDKA told us that he “can’t justify to the public this type of a tactic for a misdemeanor charge.”
Peduto went on to say that the tactic is important and can be used in particular situations, citing undercover officers tracking down sex traffickers involving children, for example.
“But the question is, do you use it for misdemeanors the same way you would a felony? I put an end to that today,” Peduto said.
That “end” that Peduto is referencing is an announcement he made yesterday saying that “As Mayor, I will never tolerate these tactics being used at peaceful protests again”
He told KDKA that served as an order to Pittsburgh Bureau Police not to use these “low-visibility” arrests for misdemeanor offenses.
As for Cartier, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala released a statement saying his arrest should “be a summary offense at best” and should be handled by police in a summary hearing.