Sunday, November 01, 2009

Like Undead, G20 Controversy Keeps Coming Back For More

By: Pittsburgh Foreign Policy Examiner, Nick Lewandowski

Perhaps in honor of Halloween, the G20 controversy refuses to die.

The Post-Gazette reports that the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board has scheduled November 10th as the tentative date for its Oakland hearing on police conduct during the G-20 Summit. Last week, the Review Board held a meeting in Lawrenceville to hear a number of complaints of misguided arrests and excessive force - including one involving a woman arrested on her way to a date. While making her way past protesters the woman was ordered to disperse, but could not move fast enough because of her high heels.

The Oakland meeting will thus follow what Board Director Elizabeth Pittinger called a "well-received" meeting that "verified some things."

The Board has already received some 75 complaints, most similar to those heard in Lawrenceville.

"The problem wasn't so much on the street level, where the officers acted," Pittinger commented, "but in the higher level of the planning [...we want to look at the tactics and equipment that were deployed."

Pittinger and others are now working with the Densus Group - an international security consultancy - to develop a detailed report of security-related events during the summit. In addition, a group called What Happened at Pitt (WHAP) - made up of University of Pittsburgh students arrested during the G-20 and their supporters - has expressed interest in holding the November hearing on the university campus. WHAP primarily seeks to raise awareness of its members' legal woes and money for their respective defenses.

The Police Citizen Review Board eventually intends to publish a report that will be useful for cities all over the world hosting major international events.

Let's hope it hits print before this monstrous legal debacle shambles into the new year.

Labels: , , , , ,