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Activists Want Desk Duty For Reinstated Penn Hills Officer Under Investigation In Shooting Death

PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) - Tempers flared during a Penn Hills council meeting Monday night after a former Wilkinsburg police officer accused of killing a man was reinstated to the police force.

Activists want a Penn Hills officer who was involved in a deadly shooting in Wilkinsburg off the job again.

Penn Hills hired officer Robert Gowans and then fired him. Gowans was the officer involved in the fatal shooting of Romir Talley while on the force in Wilkinsburg in 2019. Gowans was not charged in Talley's death. After a community outcry, Penn Hills fired Gowans.

"If you lived in Penn Hills, if those were your streets he was policing, if he was the cop that would show up if you called 911, would you feel safe in that community? Would you feel safe calling the police? No, you wouldn't," said activist Devon Adwoa.

Officer Gowans filed a grievance with the police union following his termination and was reinstated as an officer. The union argued Gowan was illegally terminated and proper procedures weren't followed.

WATCH: KDKA's Amy Wadas reports:


Now that Gowans has been reinstated to the Penn Hills police force, the community backlash continues. Members of the Alliance for Police Accountability held signs in borough council chambers Monday and asked for Gowans to be put on desk duty.

"We feel like he is a danger to the community and would not like to see what happened in Wilkinsburg repeat itself in the Penn Hills community," said a spokesperson for Alliance for Police Accountability.

The mother of Romir Talley, full of emotion, also spoke out against the hiring of Robert Gowans.

"Now I couldn't protect my son that night but I will try my damndest to protect these kids in Penn Hills because I will not sit back and watch what that man, that thug, did to my son," said LaTasha Talley.

Penn Hills Mayor Pauline Calabrese told KDKA: "This matter went through the legal process and a ruling has been handed down."

Police claimed Talley fired a shot at them that night. Talley's family claims his killing was a case of mistaken identity.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala has not filed any criminal charges against Gowans. A spokesperson for the DA says the case is still under review.

The Talley family has filed an excessive force lawsuit.

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