What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 20, 2007

More On Luke

In today's P-G:
The Pittsburgh police chief at the time of the 2005 handcuffing of now-Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said yesterday that the incident should've been documented and that the mayor erred by arguing with an officer and then not going public with the details sooner.
But wait. Wasn't the "Pittsburgh police chief at the time of the 2005 handcuffing" Robert McNeilly? And isn't Robert McNeilly married to Catherine McNeilly? And doesn't Catherine McNeilly have a case pending against the city? So we can pretty much lump Chief McNeilly in with all the other politically motivated critics, right?

Mayor Luke does:

The mayor responded that former chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr.'s comments are proof that the rumors that long swirled around the Halloween handcuffing were a political smear campaign.

"I made my comments yesterday that I think there are political people behind it," the mayor said, a day after giving his account of the incident. "I think some of those that came forward today just vindicate and validate my belief that this is politically motivated."

But then again the mayor has a habit of labelling any criticism as "politically motivated." But let's take a look at what Chief McNeilly said:

"In a high-profile situation, everybody up the chain of command should've been notified," he said. That is the case even if the officer is working a private security job, as was Officer Hoehn.

"Some documentation should've been made," Chief McNeilly said.

"If they released him, they should've explained why they [handcuffed him]." Otherwise, he said, "Ravenstahl could've made the accusation that he was falsely arrested. That's a criminal, as well as civil, issue."

And the executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board agrees.
"There should've, at minimum, been a field contact report," said Elizabeth C. Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board. "This guy was restrained. He identified himself as an official. ... Just by virtue of that, they should've made a note of it."
As far as I know, Pittinger has none of the baggage that McNeilly (either McNeilly) has. That should at least dampen the sound of Luke's defenders as they shout "politically motivated!"

The Trib's got the story too.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl should have asked for an investigation into the police officer who handcuffed him before a 2005 Steelers game at Heinz Field, the city's former top cop said today.

"Something strange was happening there. There was no documentation and no notification to superior officers. And no complaint about the officer's conduct," said former police Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr. "This disappoints me. Any time you would have a public official put in handcuffs and detained, it should have made it up the chain of command."


No complaints about the incident were made to the Citizens Police Review Board or the city Office of Municipal Investigations.

"The way this was handled raises a lot of questions," said review board Executive Director Beth Pittinger. "Even if Ravenstahl was not told he was under arrest, he wasn't free to go. You would expect that since this situation involved a public official it would have generated some kind of report or paperwork. And as a public official, if Ravenstahl had a concern about the conduct of a police officer, there are places to go to lodge a complaint. But he didn't do that."

I heard McNeilly say this on the radio yesterday:

Chief McNeilly said he was speaking out not because he was sore about his wife's demotion, but because the mayor put him in a bad position by not confronting rumors of the incident when they began swirling after the distribution of an anonymous fax in October. Chief McNeilly said reporters contacted him months ago about the incident, and he told them it was "urban legend."

"If he had been forthright with the media then, nobody would have come to me about it, and I wouldn't have looked like I didn't know what was going on," the chief said.
He said on the radio that when he was questioned about the handcuffing incident, he gave the mayor "benefit of the doubt." See? This is what happens when an elected official misleads the public. Everyone under that official is then forced (either knowingly or not) to also mislead the public.

This city deserves much much better.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Beth Pittinger. Once again, the women in the Pinnochio administration are the only ones with balls. I'm even more intrigued by Pittinger's comments in support of Chief McNeilly's insofar as the two are quite the bitter enemies.

Pittinger has the power to investigate and even hold a public hearing if she finds cause to believe the officer did anything wrong. If she find the officer did nothing wrong, i.e. she doesn't hold a hearing (assuming she opens a case)...that means Pinnochio is, as we already know, a liar. The MSM should follow-up with Ms. Pittinger...

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter what anyone from the Citizen Police Review Board says? The FOP doesn't so why should we?

Stranger than fictionn said...

Anon #1: Puppets don't have balls

Anon #2: Yeah. The administration should make all of its decisions based on "What does the FOP want in return for their support in the primary?" - Oh wait, they already do use that standard!

Hmmm, so why is the FOP being so quiet? Either their officer was in fact acting up (which no one is buying) or the officers who were working Steelers' security don't want the FOP to come out against the interim mayor...hmmm...wonder why they are bending over backward to protect their boy...probably worth looking into...

Anonymous said...

somebody should Luke why he killed the secondary employment policy that had been developed/proposed by the O'Connor administration.

Somethin's Not Right... said...

Would the killing of the policy have affected Fisher or Hoehn?

Anonymous said...

At least Mayor Ravenstahl didn't have the audacity to participate in the Steeler parade last year. Mayor
O'Conner and Onerato both jumped into the parade cars and accepted the adulation and cheers of the crowd as if they had something to do with this team's success. Civic
leaders wait at the end of the parade route and address their congrats from the podium. Not these cronies. They use their public office to get attention and steal the spotlite from the Champs.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the free tickets, trips and other perks that Onorato has taken over the years. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

Kind of like Luke politicking outside the CCB during the previous mayor's wake...

Did Luke pay for those Steeler tickets, or were they gifted to him? Did he report it in his annual ethics statement?

Anonymous said...

I read in today's paper (the Trib, I think), that the tickets were given to Luke and his dad by a Pitt lobbyist, The lobbyist also attended the game with them.

Anonymous said...

Fisher makes money scheduling security for the games. He hires other officers like Hoehn to work the games.

If the City took over scheduling and collected a fee to cover its costs, Fisher would lose big money and officers like Hoehn wouldn't be guaranteed a spot at every game.

Did Luke stop the City from implementing this program right around the time reporters were asking Luke and Fisher about Luke's behavior? Answer: Yes

How much did this cost the City?

Matt H said...

Can't beat nameless comments!

smittyfromtheflats@yahoo.com said...

two questions...."why he killed the secondary employment policy"and "Would the killing of the policy have affected Fisher or Hoehn?

The second question must be answered first.Yes on both counts.Fisher supervises one of the extra duty cabals.He draws a percentage of all money paid out.He is the employment specialist.Hoehn on the other hand makes great money working the extra details,Fisher controls the flow of extra duty work Hoehn can have.Hoehn needs Fisher.Fisher on the other hand would not be reaping his piles of $$$ if the program was handled by the city.

Under Ravenstahl,the cost recovery program was shelved after discussions with FOP members who claimed that they could better manage the program.Who benefitted directly from this being handled by guys like Officer Fisher rather than the city? Who else but Officer Fisher.Now who is standing up for Luke;the same Officer Fisher.Is this a quid pro quo? In any way,shape or form,does this constitute a payoff?Does this stink to high heaven??Does this answer question 1?

Anonymous said...

It certainly does answer question #1. Now how much did the city lose when Luke did this? I imagine it's a huge chunk of change. The County charges a 22% cost recovery fee for its personnel working off-duty employment. There must be 2 dozen cops working every Pirate and Steelers game!

Mark Rauterkus said...

I've got Pittinger and others on video today talking about the state of the city at the Annual Summit on Racism in East Liberty.

I'll be posting to my blog and YouTube within the next 12 hours.

There wasn't too much said that was really 'news driven' -- and over the top with insight. However, there was a lot of rumblings about the overall story.

The white guy, cuffs, sorry and resume life saga didn't go over too well among the black community that is more used to the black guys never being able to play the 'sorry card' to 'get out of jail free.'

Matt H said...

I can't believe someone is actually complaining about something so trivial as Dan Onorato and Bob O'Connor being in the Steelers victory parade.

Are you really that bored?

If I remember correctly Jerome Bettis was at the end of the parade route holding onto the Super Bowl trophy. Don't you think it was planned like that?

smittyfromtheflats@yahoo.com said...

500,000 rough estimate

the15212 said...

Ummm...politically motivated? You mean, Honorable Mayor, like trying to make this whole thing disappear as if it never happened? Would it be politically motivated like that? The Mayor was asked about this directly months ago and claimed, in plain english, that it never happened. A) that was a lie; and, B) it was a politically motivated lie. Public officials don't looks so hot doing the "perp walk," and Hizzoner knows it. Do I blame him? No. Is he dead to rights, flat out lying? Yes. Please return to your workstations.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Matt H's "nameless comments" entry....unfortunately people know how the Luke/Regan/Zober machine works in trying to punish their enemies and reward their friends. A public employee or someone else with something should be able to do so without fear of reprisal from the clowns on the 5th floor. When Denny was there, he was quite known for going up to people/business people who gave money to Lamb or Peduto and let them know that they weren't friends of Bob anymore. It was that type of behavior that caused a rift between Bob and his long-time friends like Jabbo, Jimmy Carr, etc.

Luke decided to name Zober Chief of Staff and Denny Director of Operations...he could have kept those two unqualified hacks on staff in political-type of roles while bringing in experienced administrators to help run the city.

Matt H said...

A rift with Jabbo and Carr? 1st I ever heard of that. Those two guys were Bob's best friends for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Jabbo nearly ended his friendship with Bob O' when he learned that Bob was even allowing Denny into the mayor's office. Bob told him Denny wouldn't hold a key post, but Jabbo knew what Denny is about - Denny burrows in and takes and takes and he's too immature to be trusted with any real power. He surrounds himself with people who are just as low and desperate as he is to maintain his power, first Quigley, then Zober, then Ravenstahl.

Grant W. Stapleton said...

Now that I have broken the silence, and gone public with the fact that this so called "Off-Duty Detail" work is illegal, the schedulers like Fisher and others will soon be wishing it was the department who had scheduled this work. Like illegal drug dealers and car thieves, the illegal monetary gain from this illegal protection racked will probably come to haunt them .. I am hearing there is soon to be filed a lawsuit that will ask for a disgorgement of this illegally obtained money... from ALL the officers AND the police and sheriff departments. Ohly fair, I guess.