Pittsburgh officials, including the police chief, find themselves walking a fine line while they try to repair the relationship between officers who have been demoralized by controversy and members of the black community, Mayor Bill Peduto said last night on “The O’Reilly Factor,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The mayor’s comments on Fox News Channel came after police Chief Cameron McLay was photographed holding a sign that said: “I resolve to challenge racism @work. #end white silence.” The sign drew attention on social media, prompting criticism from the police union president and praise from others who posted supportive messages with the hashtag #ISupportChiefMcLay.
Peduto said, “There’s been a past history that has taken it to levels that have both demoralized the rank-and-file and at the same time broken the communication between our black community and our police force, so we’re trying to run both tracks at the same time. It’s sort of difficult, but the nice thing about Pittsburgh … it’s a small enough city with only 900 officers that you can work on it on an individual basis.” Community groups noted anger at the shooting of black teenager Leon Ford in a traffic stop that left him paralyzed; the arrest of teacher Dennis Henderson, who sued the city for an alleged false arrest, and whose settlement was approved by City Council; and the arrest and beating of black teen Jordan Miles several years ago.