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CPRB Board Meeting Blog – June 27th, 2023

CPRB Board Meeting Blog – June 27th, 2023

Post by Nigel Parry. The Board Meeting Blog is an unofficial citizen record of the meetings and does not reflect any official CPRB position or policy, and is simply offered as a quick way of keeping up with what happens at the board meetings. Watch full-length video recordings of all CPRB meetings at

PRESENT: Elizabeth C. Pittinger, MPM; Stephanie Hampton; William F. Ward, Esq; Ms. LeKeisha Brown (City Council Seat #1: Non-LEP*); Dr. Mary Jo Guercio (Council Seat #4, Non LEP); Mr. Raymond Robinson (Mayoral Seat #5, Non-LEP); Mr. Elwin Green (City Council Seat #3: Non-LEP).

EXCUSED: Dr. Emma Lucas-Darby, Chair (Mayoral Seat #6:Non-LEP); Ms. Karen McLellan (City Council Seat #2: LEP); Mr. Sheldon Williams (Mayoral Seat #7: LEP). *Law Enforcement Professional

CPRB Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger

Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger gave her update. CPRB has received 116 complaints to date this year, roughly the same rate as last year.


Last November, following a few high profile incidents that occurred, which suggested a weakness in police supervisory oversight, CPRB approached the Bureau to obtain their curricula for leadership and skills development for newly promoted supervisors—sergeants, lieutenants, and commanders.

Their policies do outline some criteria that are supposed to be in place. We figured out from their policies and procedures what we would expect to see. We still have not received that material.

The Board authorized the issuance of a subpoena some time ago. CPRB has held off on that option and has been trying to negotiate with the City’s Law Department.

The City remains resistant to releasing any internal Bureau training materials to CPRB. CPRB Solicitor Mr. Ward reported last month that one Law Department response was to offer a link to the Bureau of Police Manual, available online, which we of course already have.

With the recent change of Police Chief, we have been patient. Last CPRB Board meeting, Mr. Robinson suggested engaging Chief Scirotto on this specific issue, now that he is no longer new to the job.


The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) [] is a US State Department program that brings delegations from emerging democracies here to the US to learn about our system. CPRB has been part of this program for years.

CPRB spent last Thursday afternoon with a delegation from Armenia, discussing policing differences between there and here in America. “Strengthening Public Relations and Community Outreach” was the theme of the delegation. The delegation had also visited Minneapolis, MN, and Washington, DC, and were meeting with a variety of police and community groups while in Pittsburgh.

Armenia’s various policing districts—neighborhood, city, and regional—are all under central government control. While this would usually be an obvious red flag in any society, Armenia’s very constitution has a dedicated section that specifically defines and limits police powers. These limits are therefore not up for debate in court. Education and training are highly prized values for law enforcement personnel. The Armenian delegation was appalled that you could become a police officer in America with only a high school education.

Ms. Pittinger commented on how fascinating it was to see how they see us. It was no surprise; the biggest thing they frowned on was our obsession with guns, and the children that have been killed, and there was no way to defend that.

Assistant Executive Director Stephanie Hampton, who also greeted the visiting Armenian delegation in Pittsburgh, added that she felt the learning experience was valuable, giving her exposure to new perspectives that she hadn’t heard before.


Juneteenth celebrations in Pittsburgh were by and large a great success. One incident raised controversy.

Local news reported that Will Parker, a former candidate for Allegheny County executive, was accused of assaulting a detective in an attempt to get to Mayor Ed Gainey.

There are disputes with regard to the facts. For example, there were suggestions that Chief Scirotto had given an order to take down Mr. Parker, and was actually on top of Mr. Parker, although the chief denies that.

CPRB doesn’t know enough about the facts, so we have opened an investigation. We hope to have more information in July. We ask people who witnessed or have video of the event, or who know people who witnessed and/or videoed the incident, please contact the CPRB.


There’s been an interesting development in Minnesota since the death of George Floyd. There is a Department for Human Rights at the state government level. They investigated the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department, finding that there had been civil rights violations of free speech, discriminatory practices, and use of excessive force.

The three parties came to an agreement that they would file a Consent Decree with the state court, which they did in March.

A separate investigation by the US Department of Justice had found the same basic issues as had the Minnesota Department for Human Rights. Civil rights violations of excessive, unnecessary, and unreasonable force and discriminatory practices—particularly against African Americans and Native Americans. People experiencing mental crises, “behavioral health difficulties”, were also highlighted in the Department of Justice’s report.

On June 16th, US Attorney General Garland announced that there would be an agreement between the US Department of Justice, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Police Department to enter into a consent decree at the federal level, to be filed in the near future.

The first consent decree in the country was here in Pittsburgh. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in Minneapolis. The focus groups that the State of Minnesota held before releasing its report and findings—with both community groups and police groups—were interesting.

Local groups were seeking humanely-based solutions—relationships, respect, and having help when they needed it from the police. Results from the police focus groups were almost entirely focused on employment-related issues—hours, pay, health and wellness benefits.

Signs like the consent decree in Minneapolis, and elsewhere in the law enforcement realm, some things seem to be changing and the double standards of the past are starting to be diminished.

Ms. Pittinger noted the quick arrest, suspension, and charging of three police officers in San Antonio, TX for the murder of Melissa Ann Perez, 46, a mother seemingly having a mental health crisis. The officers were not in any immediate danger when they shot her dead from outside her home. A few years ago, those officers would never have been charged.

Unfortunately, here in Pittsburgh, the City of Pittsburgh is to pay an $8 million settlement to the family of Jim Rogers in a settlement of a federal wrongful death lawsuit after he was tased to death in October 2021.

But there has been no disposition on the criminal culpability of the officers involved because the District Attorney has not disclosed any decision. He repeatedly has asserted that another agency is looking at the incident. From their own critical incident review, the City found that the major weakness in the situation was ineffective supervision. This is a key reason why CPRB is currently investigating training and supervising.


All CPRB board members and staff have to sign annual declarations declaring any financial interest and any conflicts of interest. Board members are considered public officials and staff are considered public employees. Both the City and State have ethics statutes that require this.

In the Office of Municipal Investigations, they have both civilian and law enforcement investigators detailed and assigned to OMI. The civilians have to sign and file this annual declaration. The law enforcement investigators do not have to file an annual ethics declaration because police officers are exempt.

In the State ethics regulations, police are exempt from this ethics requirement, which is not comforting when you’re trying to establish trust with the community. When you have people doing the same work who are held to different standards, this is concerning.

There are very few public employees that have as much impact on members of the public as police officers. Are police officers considered public employees? What is their status under the Ethics Commission? This needs to be defined. Why are police officers exempt? Ms. Pittinger wants CPRB to look into this disparity. A motion was proposed and passed to authorize the Executive Director to investigate this issue further.

Mr Raymond Robinson asked what would happen with any information discovered. Ms. Pittinger replied that at its most basic, this investigation is primarily for the sake of everyone being informed, but after we learn what is going on, maybe we will see fit to send a letter recommending a change, motivating legislators and the Ethics Commission to amend their own rules and regulations.


Earlier during Ms. Pittinger’s report, Board member Mr. Elwin Green joined the Zoom meeting, bringing the board meeting to quorum. As there was no quorum at either March or April’s board meeting, the draft minutes of February’s meeting were still waiting to be approved. The February draft minutes were passed unanimously by the board during this meeting.


There are about 837 Pittsburgh Police Officers, about 100 down from optimum staffing levels. Current police are overworked and some shifts are being filled by temps. Chief Scirotto has expressed interest in creating (and may have already created) a recruitment unit, something CPRB first suggested 21 years ago. The Bureau is holding two classes for new recruits this year, the first in mid-July will see 35 recruits.


We are underway with interviews for the administrative assistant and community liaison positions and are on track to have them filled by the end of the summer. This will take a huge load off.

The CPRB Investigator position will be reopening for applicants in August 2023.


In any months where meetings have no quorum (as in March and April 2023), any CPRB cases and investigations in process proceed automatically.

The review of current cases under CPRB investigation followed, with votes taken on each case. This lengthy process is not recorded in this blog.

Please browse CPRB’s Case Action Agendas here for case-related documents and information:

The next CPRB Board meeting will take place on July 25th, 2023 at 6pm ET. Check our meetings page for links to agendas, draft and approved minutes, current case actions, meeting video, and other documents.

Post by Nigel Parry. The Board Meeting Blog is an unofficial citizen record of the meetings and does not reflect any official CPRB position or policy, and is simply offered as a quick way of keeping up with what happens at the board meetings. Watch full-length video recordings of all CPRB meetings at

City of Pittsburgh • Citizen Police Review Board

About the CPRB

The Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) is an independent agency within the City of Pittsburgh set up to investigate citizen complaints about improper conduct by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. MORE

CPRB 2024 Meeting Dates

January 23, 2024
February 27, 2024
March 26, 2024
April 23, 2024
May 28, 2024
June 25, 2024
July 23, 2024
Sept. 24, 2024
October 22, 2024
December 3, 2024

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