ARNOLD (KDKA) – A group of demonstrators gathered outside the municipal building in Arnold on Thursday afternoon, calling for the mayor to resign over controversial social media posts related to the Antwon Rose case.
With signs, song and chants, protesters in front of Arnold's city hall hoped to send a message to the town's mayor, Karen Piconi.
"The people here in Arnold and all of Pennsylvania need to call for the mayor of Arnold to resign," said one protester.
"She has to leave," said another. "She has to go. She's no good for this community."
Calls for Piconi to step down started after she posted on Facebook that those protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr. by an East Pittsburgh police officer should be "destroyed by a water cannon," with a picture of one in use.
She followed that post by commenting, "They [the protesters] don't care about jobs for Pg… none of them work now.. That's how they can do this at 7am…… Very sad."
The post outraged Melvin Smith, who says the concept of using hoses and water cannons on peaceful protesters harkens back to the Civil Rights Movement decades ago.
"She showed pictures of it. If you are willing to hurt people that bad for peacefully protesting, and you have power and authority over a police department, you scare the hell out of a whole lot of people," said Smith.
Another protester, Jason Jackson, said, "I was in shock," he said. "I can't believe a person who holds that position, even if they feel that way, would put it out into the public like that."
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Peconi issued an apology.
It said, in part: "I love this community, I would do anything for the people here. I don't take my position as Mayor lightly and deeply regret the comments I made on Facebook. It was never my intention to offend anyone, and for those who I offended I am sincerely sorry."
But some say that's not enough.
"That apology is only an attempt to save a job, or regain some respect," said Melvin. "I will accept it, along with her resignation."
KDKA's Ross Guidotti reached out to Peconi on Thursday for comment, but has not yet heard back.
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