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Citizen Police Review Board Says Pride Fest Photo Proves Nothing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- An altercation between a Pittsburgh Police officer and a 19-year-old woman attending the Gay Pride Parade last month was the topic of conversation in City Council chambers Tuesday night.

The Citizen Police Review Board held its monthly meeting and it didn't take long for the issue to be raised. The incident came up as the Review Board executive director briefed the panel.

"Publicly, the Fraternal Order of Police issued a still photograph over the weekend," Executive Director Elizabeth Pittinger said. "They claim the proof is there justifying the officer's physical interaction with the female."

Pittinger says the board will continue to look into the incident, but says she thinks the video released several weeks ago was more helpful, and the photo proves nothing.

"It could have been when she was being pushed backwards. That's evident on the video," Pittinger said. "It could have been that she was instinctively reaching up to stop falling because it appears she could have been falling backwards, but the photo itself does not give us any definitive time when it was taken, so it could have happened any time."

The FOP released the photo over the weekend.

"The Fraternal Order of Police supports the officer 100 percent," Jim Glick of the FOP said. "We believe he did nothing wrong. He acted as he was trained, and he took control of the situation appropriately."

They say the photo is enough evidence to exonerate Officer Sorouth Chatterji.

"I would say that is aggressive. I mean, both of her hands are on the officer's arms," Glick said about the photo. "It appears that the officer is attempting to control the situation, and you know, maybe back away, but she is definitely in his personal space with both hands on him."

Mayor Bill Peduto's office will have no additional comment until the Office of Municipal Investigation completes its review. The Citizen Police Review Board won't meet again until September.

FOP: Photo Proves Officer's Actions Were Justified In Pride Fest Incident (7/19/2014)
Pride Fest Video Shows Officer Allegedly Assaulting Woman (6/16/2014)
More Reports By Rick Dayton

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