Pittsburgh Dem Mayor: No, you can't protest outside my house

There’s something in this story about chickens coming home to roost, but I just can’t put my finger on it yet.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the protests (and associated rioting from time to time) haven’t let up. In fact, following the arrest of one protest leader over the weekend, they’ve only increased in volume. As long as the demonstrations remained in the downtown area, both Mayor Bill Peduto and many of the police seemed content to let the situation play out. But Peduto’s attitude took a decided turn toward the less tolerant side when the protests moved to a new location. The site in question would be the Mayor’s own front yard. And that was clearly a bridge too far for him. (CBS Pittsburgh)

These days, it seems Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto can’t please anyone — certainly not the protesters who made a ruckus outside his house in Point Breeze all night. Even though he’s condemned it, they blame the mayor for the arrest of 25-year-old Matthew Cartier, who was whisked away in an unmarked van on Saturday…

The mayor was not home last night when protesters beat on drums, blew in horns and chanted disdain, and he as not in his office today. But in a statement, he said while he supports free speech, he indicated arrests will be warranted if actions like this happen again.

Thus far, police have allowed demonstrators unfettered access to city streets without permits, but even the ACLU says police are within their rights to make arrests if protesters create disturbances or block vital streets and intersections and refuse to disperse.

I was going to call this a case of NIMBYism, but the noisy mob was technically in Peduto’s front yard. This is looking like a case of selective enforcement, isn’t it? In any event, the Mayor said the protesters had “crossed a line.” I can only assume he meant his own property line.

If you happen to be a shop owner in the downtown area, you may not get any help from law enforcement if the protesters are smashing your windows and looting your store. But if you’re the Mayor, a line of cops will show up at your house, declare an “unlawful assembly” and threaten to start hauling people in.

The mayor was not home last night when protesters beat on drums, blew in horns and chanted disdain, and he as not in his office today. But in a statement, he said while he supports free speech, he indicated arrests will be warranted if actions like this happen again.

The demonstrators have said they are protesting because they feel the mayor has not taken the Black Lives Matter movement seriously. The demonstration comes after a protester was arrested by plainclothes officers and put into an unmarked white van.

It’s not clear how much longer the police will continue to show up and protect Mayor Peduto’s front yard, however. The local FOP president recently predicted that there will be hundreds of retirement from the Pittsburgh PD this fall. 268 officers will become eligible for early retirement in October and most of them are citing the Mayor’s ongoing comments criticizing their handling of the riots as the main motivating factor. They also blame the city’s District Attorney, who has been equally sympathetic to the mob and not so much to the PD. The FOP president went on to say that the Mayor’s negative attitude is further inflaming the community against the police, placing them at greater risk.

Perhaps these latest incidents will work to the benefit of the citizens of Pittsburgh. Now that the Mayor’s family has had a taste of this mayhem literally at their front door, he might wind up being a bit more sympathetic to the law-abiding members of his city who remain at risk. We can only hope.