Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will not demote three police officers promoted June 18 despite domestic abuse accusations, but he is implementing, starting today, what he described in a press release as “a new policy that will set a standard of zero tolerance for domestic abuse.” (Rich Lord, P-G)
He said Chief Harper has been reprimanded.
The mayor maintained that he wasn’t told of the circumstances surrounding Lt. Rodriguez or Sgt. Hlavac prior to their promotions, and that if he had known, he “would have urged that extraordinary steps be taken to further look into their respective issues.”
The Trib’s version by Jeremy Boren runs a quote that expresses a degree of skepticism:
“(Ravenstahl) still has not taken responsibility for the fact that he was the one who actually promoted these people,” said Jeanne Clark, a member of the Squirrel Hill chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Earlier today, Boren had cold-cocked the Mayor with a front-page headline that read, Ravenstahl Skips Promotions Backlash. One almost wonders if the journalist bears some kind of grudge against the Mayor.
Also earlier today, P-G columnist Tony Norman described a similar incident between the Mayor and the Police Chief six months ago.
“It was a decision that was made by the chief, and I supported that decision,” Luke Dufresne said, shifting the blame to “Red” Harper when a judge reversed Ms. McNeilly’s demotion a month later.
Okay, there was some Shawshank Redemption iconography at work there, but you get the idea. We cannot help but wonder what Norman’s take on these new developments might be.
Sidebar: The city has been told it would be on “thin ice legally” if it demoted the officers at this stage. Recall also that the city had been told it would be on “shaky legal ground” if it rejected the UPMC signage. Is it impossible to get clear-cut, confident legal opinions? Or is the city just easily intimidated?