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Plea deal for man who drove through protest leaves victim in ‘disbelief’

By February 12, 2021 February 15th, 2021 No Comments

WTAE-TV captured a vehicle driven by David Fiori through a crowd of protesters in July.

By Brittany Hailer
Pittsburgh Current Managing Editor
brittany@pittsburghcurrent.com

Flecia Harvey of Penn Hills, is in disbelief that the major charges against David Fiori Jr. were dropped this week involving an incident last summer in which video shows him driving a car into a crowd of protestors gathered in her defense. 

“That man tried to kill me and he’s going to try and do it again,” Harvey said. 

Fiori, 63, pleaded guilty to simple assault and reckless endangerment on Feb. 10 in connection with the incident. Other, more serious charges, including accidents involving death or personal injury, and one felony count of aggravated assault, were withdrawn. 

[The Current is reporting from court records because it was not permitted the public hearing due to a judicial district policy that requires the public request online access 24 hours (or more) prior to the scheduled court date. More on that policy and it’s restrictions here]. 

Harvey, 58, moved to Penn Hills in September 2019. Less than a year later, July 15, Fiori’s silver sedan ran a red light and barreled through a protest in her honor. Harvey grabbed her chest, tears welling in her eyes. She said someone pulled her out of the way of the oncoming car. The men and women around her scattered as Fiori pressed his foot on the gas, video shows. 

Harvey’s community had rallied for her that day because her neighbor—Fiori’s nephew—had been allegedly tormenting and harassing Harvey for months. She says that the nephew killed her cat with a bow and arrow and erected a scarecrow to look into the window of her house. The protest was against the persecution of Harvey by one of David Fiori’s family members. 

Harvey was in disbelief when the Penn Hills Police Department [PHPD] determined that she would not be a victim in Fiori’s case. Harvey insists that Fiori knew of the protest before it happened because his nephew had been allegedly harassing Harvey for months. Fiori also owns part of the property where she lives. She maintains that she was Fiori’s target. 

“I just want to know that I matter,” Harvey said. “They’re treating me like I don’t matter. They’re beating me down. I am not giving up, though. It is not in my spirit.”

The department did not return a request for comment. The District Attorney’s office would not comment on why Harvey was not a victim in the Fiori case and referred The Current to the PHPD. 

While Fiori’s sentencing is scheduled for March 25, the prosecution in this case suggested that Fiori seek anger management for his sentence. According to the Post-Gazette, Fiori’s lawyer, Patrick Thomassey said in court that Fiori “acted out of frustration, but immediately regretted his actions.”

In the criminal complaint written by Officer Ryan Ferek, Fiori parked on a driveway on Saltsburg Road, after he drove into the crowd. That driveway is an easement which Harvey uses to enter and exit her property, which Fiori owns. Harvey says he parked there to intimidate her, and, because he technically owns the driveway, the police wouldn’t be allowed to ask him to leave. 

“The police did not do their due diligence–they did not question everyone that was there. Everything they did was to protect that man. They did not protect the people like they were paid to do,” said Harvey. 

For over an hour, after driving his car into the protestors, Fiori parked next to Harvey’s house and talked with officers of the PHPD. 

Fiori changed his shirt. He laughed. He sat back and watched as protestors pleaded with police to arrest him. In a video posted to social media, around the 13-minute mark, Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton speaks with protesters as Fiori stands in the background. When the group tells Burton that Fiori drove through the protest, he responds, “I’m not worried about that.”

Twenty-four hours later, after aerial footage of Fiori’s drive-through aired on WTAE, the PHPD did arrest him. And Harvey believes the local news is the only reason why. 

“I don’t know how strong I can be,” Harvey said, “I am trying to stand strong. I really want to move, I want to move so bad. We have our money tied up in here. I wouldn’t even want the devil living next to him.” 

 

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