By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
Editor’s Note: This story contains disturbing language that includes racial epithets and slang that is demeaning toward women. We have left much of the language unedited, including one usage of the n-word.
A white man (pictured above) who identified himself as a “police officer” and used racial epithets against a black woman as she left a June 7 Peaceful Protest For Racial Justice on Mount Washington is not a member of the Pittsburgh Police force or, apparently, any other.
City Police officials tell the Current that the department knows who the man is and he is not a police officer. The man’s name is not yet being released, however, because the investigation is still ongoing. Several community members called the department to identify the man and he was also identified by some police officers. Despite learning the name of the man in the video from multiple sources and a social media search, the Current did not have official confirmation at the time publication and was withholding the name. Once the investigation is complete it will be referred to the District Attorney’s office for the consideration of criminal charges.
Sunday’s event was attended by several hundred people along with Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb.
The woman who was the target of the man’s vitriol asked not to be identified but says she was coming forward because she wants the man, who lives in her neighborhood identified. “I’m fearful because he lives in this neighborhood and I want charges brought against him so the neighborhood can feel safe from racism,” she said. The woman said she already feels unsafe in her neighborhood because of the outward racism by some residents.”
The man approached the woman as protesters began to march from Mt. Washington to Market Square. The man approached her and said, ‘The nigglets are out fucking shit up again aren’t they,’ The woman then followed the man with her cell phone camera, asking questions. The man again called her the n-word and a slew of profanity, saying that he didn’t like black people and called the woman a “fucking worthless nigglet who doesn’t have a job.” As the man became more aggressive, several nearby protesters came to her aid.
“I’m also thankful to the white allies who used their bodies to shield me from his hateful rhetoric,” she said. “It takes white allies to shut down racism. We can’t do it alone. I don’t know what would have happened if I was alone. I didn’t ask for help, they came on their own.”