Citizen Police Review Board issues report on south side bar brawl involving undercover officers

The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board released a report two and a half years after a bar fight involving four plainclothes policemen from Pittsburgh. Action News 4 of Pittsburgh spoke with CPRB chief executive Beth Pittinger, who believes the agent’s actions created a “fiasco.” “This whole incident was such a disgrace and so improper,” Pittinger said. Four plainclothes police officers were monitoring a potential drug suspect on October 11, 2018, inside Kopy’s bar on the south side. The Citizen Police Review Board report states that the initial investigation by the four policemen that night was warranted; that they had a legitimate investigative objective by monitoring a potential drug suspect they believed to be inside the bar. The report says the suspect eventually left, but the officer stayed. Beth Pittinger thinks the police should have left too. “They were there. On a legitimate surveillance detail initially, but when the target of that surveillance left, they could have stood up and gone. They didn’t,” Pittinger said. Between 13 and 19 drinks That evening, later members of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club entered the bar. After a verbal exchange between the Pagans and members of the Pittsburgh Police Department, a brawl broke out and the charges were subsequently dropped. These four men, along with the Kopy’s Bar, have filed civil lawsuits against the city of Pittsburgh – incidents that I have never observed conducted by the Pittsburgh Police Officers’ Office, “Pittinger said. Following this incident, the Pittsburgh Police said they made changes to their policies; namely, improvements regarding when to use force, actual use of force, policies regarding alcohol consumption for undercover agents ation and planning of undercover operations, according to the CCRP report. The report notes that planning for undercover operations remains under review. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto did not review the report when Pittsburgh Action News 4 met with him on Thursday, but pointed to improvements of the police department and a change in the police command structure “We made changes immediately after the incident and we also changed command immediately after the incident,” Peduto said. Beth Pittinger says the review committee met with Chief Schubert about ministry policies, adding that the review committee made additional policy recommendations. Pittsburgh says Schubert and the review board are scheduled to meet next month. Action News 4 from Pittsburgh contacted a spokesperson for the police union but had no response. This story will be updated if there is a response. Click here to read the full public report.

The Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board released a report two and a half years after a bar fight involving four plainclothes police officers from Pittsburgh.

Action News 4 from Pittsburgh spoke with CCRP Executive Director Beth Pittinger, who believes the officer’s actions created a “fiasco.”

“This whole incident was a disgrace and an inconvenience,” Pittinger said.

Four plainclothes police officers were monitoring a potential drug suspect on October 11, 2018, inside Kopy Bar on the south side.

The Citizen Police Review Board report states that the initial investigation by the four policemen that night was warranted; that they had a legitimate investigative objective by monitoring a potential drug suspect they believed to be inside the bar.

The report says the suspect eventually left, but the officer stayed.

Beth Pittinger thinks the officers should have left too.

“They were there initially for legitimate surveillance, but when the target of that surveillance left, they could have stood up and gone. They didn’t,” Pittinger said.

The report notes that surveillance video appears to show three of the officers appearing to order and drink between 13 and 19 drinks that evening.

Later, members of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club entered the bar.

After a verbal back-and-forth between the pagans and members of the Pittsburgh police, a brawl broke out.

Four members of the motorcycle club were eventually charged.

These charges were subsequently dropped.

These four men, along with Kopy’s Bar, have filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh.

“Overall, this was one of the most shameful, offensive and disgusting incidents I have ever observed, carried out by the Pittsburgh Police Officers’ Office,” Pittinger said.

In the years following this incident, Pittsburgh Police said they made changes to their policies; namely, improvements in when to use force, the actual use of force, policies regarding alcohol consumption for undercover officers and planning of undercover operations, according to the CCRP report . The report notes that the planning of undercover operations remains under review.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto had not reviewed the report when Pittsburgh Action News 4 met with him on Thursday, but pointed to improvements in the police department and a change in the police command structure as good remedies in an ongoing process.

“We made changes immediately after the incident and we also changed command immediately after the incident,” said Peduto.

Beth Pittinger says the review committee has met with Chief Schubert about ministry policies, adding that the review committee has made additional policy recommendations.

Pittinger says Schubert and the review committee are expected to meet next month.

Action News 4 from Pittsburgh contacted a spokesperson for the police union but had no response. This story will be updated if there is a response.

Click here to read the full public report.

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