Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Police Review Board to Pursue Charges Against Harper

The Ravenstahl Administration and Pittsburgh City Council remain at odds with the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) over the board's attempt to force Police Chief Nate Harper to surrender police documents regarding the G20 summit last fall.

The board wants the papers to complete an investigation into the police department’s handling of the September 2009 summit. 188 people were arrested and according to the CPRB at least a dozen people filed complaints against police.
City Council this week passed a resolution urging the review board to "align" its pursuit of documents with the legal process of pending lawsuits.

City Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl say releasing the documents could put lawsuits involving the G20 Summit in jeopardy.

But CPRB Executive Director Beth Pittinger says that’s irrelevant – Harper is bound by a Common Pleas Court order to relinquish the documents. She says the city shouldn’t worry about the information leaking anyway:

“Their disclosure to us is not disclosed to the public. We’re bound to confidentiality in the ordinance with a long-standing agreement with the city regarding confidentiality. It’s not their place to decide what, and when, and where we get information.”

Pittinger says the CPRB will continue its attempt to find Harper in contempt of court. She says that would probably put daily fines of about $600 on the city until the documents are released to the board.

CPRB has a court date for that action on Friday.

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