Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

An Allegheny County grand jury report released on Friday says the Pittsburgh Police command staff failed to properly conduct investigations following two officer-involved shootings, and stood by as Robert Swartzwelder, the president of Pittsburgh’s Fraternal Order of Police union, interfered with those investigations.

Courtesy of the Law Offices of Timothy P. O’Brien

A Uniontown man sued four Pennsylvania state troopers in federal court Thursday, alleging they arrested him on false charges in 2016 to cover up a police shooting in which he was the target. Although Daylon McLee, 29, was not injured in the shooting and was acquitted of the crime, the suit says he was wrongly held in jail for nearly a year. 

'There Are No Answers': One Family Pushes Forward After Losing Teenager To Suicide

Dec 5, 2018
Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

Josh Sterner had good psychiatric care, a therapist and access to medication. None of that prevented his death. 

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

The U.S. Supreme Court could soon make the process by which states confiscate property used in a crime, even if it was used tangentially, much more difficult for states like Pennsylvania. Some state civil asset forfeiture laws allow police to take cash, cars or real estate, even without proof of a crime.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new Pittsburgh police substation opened Tuesday in a North Side public housing complex.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will weigh whether to block the use of the death penalty unless the state overhauls how it is imposed. In an order Monday, the court said it will consider taking the unusual step of hearing the case before lower courts have ruled on it.  

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

 

People in the justice system often rely on law libraries for information, especially if they can’t afford an attorney. Sometimes those situations are complicated by mental health challenges.

The 9th annual "Latkepalooza" at Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh is open to families across the Jewish community.

There's plenty of fried food, face painting and carnival-style games.

Seventeen-year-old Ariel Holstein runs the putt-putt game. For him, the past five weeks have been intense. He says there was a lot to take in after police say a shooter killed 11 people at the nearby Tree of Life Synagogue in October.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A series of listening sessions across the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh begins Thursday.

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

In a withering opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Wednesday that Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel must be removed from a case involving a convicted sex offender. The 13-page opinion expressed “substantial doubt as to [McDaniel’s] ability to preside impartially and provide a fair tribunal,” after the judge refused to comply with an order to correct her original sentence in the case.

Report Warns Of Crisis In Pennsylvania Fire, Rescue Services

Nov 28, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A report released Wednesday warns that Pennsylvania's fire and rescue services face a crisis, saying the number of volunteers continues to fall amid funding needs and training challenges.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A Pittsburgh hospital says the 70-year-old chaplain shot during the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting has been discharged from the hospital.

State Watchdog Releases Recommendations For Reducing Gun Violence

Nov 27, 2018
Ben Allen / WITF

After a year-long review of firearm safety in the commonwealth, Pennsylvania's auditor general has released a report with 12 recommendations for reducing gun deaths.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Catholic Diocese announced this month that it placed two more priests on administrative leave, following allegations of sexual abuse.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The community of East Pittsburgh will disband its police department, with the Pennsylvania state police providing services instead starting this weekend. The borough's police department has been widely criticized since officer Michael Rosfeld fatally shot unarmed teenager Antwon Rose this summer.

Nightshade Pittsburgh

Transgender and queer organizers in Pittsburgh are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for those who may be unwelcome at home.

PA Department Of Corrections To Provide Costly Hepatitis C Treatment To 5K Inmates

Nov 20, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections has agreed to treat the state’s nearly 5,000 inmates with hepatitis C over the next three years as part of a federal court settlement expected to be finalized soon.

Courtesy of Hello Neighbor

 

Whether it’s participating in a match program to socialize with immigrant families or lending a helping hand at a soup kitchen, Pittsburghers are volunteering at a nationally recognized rate. Nearly 38 percent of local residents volunteer, placing the city in seventh place nationally for its collective rate of volunteerism.

Bree Fowler / AP

On Thanksgiving, families across Pittsburgh will come together to share a meal and celebrate. But for children whose parents are incarcerated, the holidays can be an especially difficult time, said Tia Staples, co-owner of 7 Senses Catering and Event Services.

Lawyer: FBI Erred In Tying Man To Synagogue Massacre Suspect

Nov 16, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A defense attorney says federal authorities misrepresented a social media connection between the suspect in last month's Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and a man whose relatives reported concerns about his behavior after the shooting to the FBI.

Marc Levy / AP

Fourteen people who say they were sexually victimized as children by Roman Catholic priests decades ago are filing new lawsuits against the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Exonerated Death-Row Inmates Push Pa. To Abolish Capital Punishment

Nov 16, 2018
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Witness to Innocence, a national anti-death penalty organization based in Philadelphia, staged an event in the city Thursday calling for Pennsylvania to abolish the death penalty.

Led by exonerated death row inmates, WTI uses the first-hand experiences of the wrongly convicted to push for an end to executions in the U.S. — calling the death penalty the biggest problem in a “fatally flawed” criminal justice system.

New Lawsuit Against PA Catholic Dioceses Demand More Secrets Be Revealed

Nov 16, 2018
Emma Lee / WHYY

Two people who have accused priests of molestation in Philadelphia have filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and all of the state’s dioceses demanding that additional church secrets be exposed.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The Tree of Life shooting, which left 11 Jewish worshippers dead, has been deemed the most fatal anti-Semitic attack in American history. Federal prosecutors were quick to charge the accused gunman, Robert Bowers, with hate crimes for each fatality.

Man Tied To Synagogue Shooting Suspect Arrested

Nov 14, 2018
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A self-described white nationalist with a social media connection to the suspect in last month's Pittsburgh synagogue massacre faces gun-related charges after his relatives reported concerns about his behavior and violent rhetoric to the FBI, according to court records.

Fostering Youth Transitions / Data Brief via the Annie E. Casey Foundation

As many as 15,000 children are in Pennsylvania's foster care system at any given time, and a disproportionate number are often African-American. How can existing family relationships be better resourced and supported? And how can society better help kids transition from foster care to adulthood? 

Marjory Collins / Library of Congress

 

Americans have been celebrating the service and sacrifices made by their fellow countrymen and women in every military conflict since the end of World War I.

Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

Dorothy Johnson-Speight still holds the burden of a mother’s pain.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

One week after the last funeral for the 11 people killed at Tree of Life Synagogue last month, the community is still mourning. Hundreds gathered at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh Friday afternoon to honor lives lost, and celebrate the city’s strength.

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