What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 19, 2007

Ravenstahl Coverage (All Luke, All The Time)

There doesn't seem to be anything new in the newspaper coverage.

Rich Lord at the P-G gets the main points, except he misspells John McIntire's name (as of this morning).
Yesterday, John McIntyre, a commentator and former talk show host at KDKA radio wrote in his Web blog that the mayor "got belligerent and pushed the cop."
Well that's close to, but not exactly what Johnny Mac wrote, isn't it? Here's the paragraph in question:


Word on the street: Opie was rowdy. Somebody called security. A cop tried to reign Opie in. Opie got belligerent and pushed the cop. Opie allegedly begged for forgiveness once they slapped the cuffs on him.

Just a little different, doncha think?

Jeremy Boren over at The Trib gets the name right:
Ravenstahl, 26, of Summer Hill, broke his silence after an account of the incident appeared on a blog maintained by former KDKA Radio talk show host John McIntire, a frequent critic of Ravenstahl.
But let's take a look at the facts. The P-G:

On Oct. 31, 2005, the mayor said, he was near the front of an unruly throng outside Heinz Field shortly before a Steelers night game. He was then a 25-year-old city councilman.

He said that he had consumed "some alcoholic beverages" with friends and family before entering the line but was not drunk.

With game time approaching, the crowd surged.

"Myself and other individuals in the front were really not even in control of ourselves," he said. "We couldn't control ourselves because of the force from behind."

Then Officer Hoehn, the mayor said, "went charging into the crowd, a crowd that included men, women and children, at which time he was very aggressive and authoritative."

"At which time I, verbally, expressed my objections to the manner in which he was treating the crowd at Heinz Field that evening," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

He said he did not know of any injuries in the crowd.

Officer Hoehn then retreated from the "uncontrollable" crowd, the mayor said.

"I told him who I was, and I told him I didn't appreciate the way he was treating the fans, and I didn't appreciate the manner in which he represented the city of Pittsburgh," he said. "He expressed back to me that he didn't care for my opinion and didn't care what I had to say. But I didn't back down."

The mayor said he used language that he shouldn't have, but "at no time did I physically contact the officer."

Officer Hoehn then handcuffed him and took him into Heinz Field. He sat, handcuffed and alone, for 10 or 15 minutes, he said. He was then taken into a security office.

First things first. Mayor Luke characterizes it as "verbally expressed my objections" but that can mean many different things. Anyone can say what they want, but to do it in a manner that a Pittsburgh Police Officer sees fit to handcuff that person - that most've been some "verbal expression."

Here's the story at The Trib:

Ravenstahl said he was in a large line of people outside Heinz Field when the crowd surged forward.

"Myself and everybody else that was in the front of the line at that point simply had no control over our bodies or anything. We were being pushed, and it was a very dangerous situation," Ravenstahl said.

The mayor said police Officer Mark A. Hoehn "charged into the crowd" to restore order. Ravenstahl said Hoehn was "out of control."

Ravenstahl said he identified himself as a city councilman and complained to the officer about being heavy-handed.

"It was making a bad situation much, much worse," Ravenstahl said. "I stood up for what I believed in and once again began to tell him that he was wrong and acting inappropriately."

Hoehn then handcuffed Ravenstahl. Hoehn conferred with Sgt. John Fisher, who was in the stadium, and the two decided to let Ravenstahl go after apologies were exchanged, the mayor said.

There's something about this that just doesn't fit. Mayor Luke's at the front of a large crowd that's "surging" towards Heinz Field and the surging is cause by the front of the crowd being pushed from the back of the crowd. Luke says the crowd didn't have any "control over our bodies" (a dangerous situation for someone who's had a few - but I digress). It was a dangerous situation, he said. So here's the tricky part of Luke's story. There's a surging crowd, it's dangerous and what happens?

A lone police officer "charge[s] into the crowd"? Is this regular police procedure? My buddy Ol' Froth has a take on this:
Faced with an unruly crowd, if law enforcement personell feel that someone might become a crowd instigator, the tactic is to remove the potential mob leader. Now I'm not suggesting that Mayor Opie was leading a mob, but if he was possibly bellicose on behalf of an unruly crowd that police were trying to get a handle on, it would make sense to hustle him out of there, and then release him once the situation calmed. If its a brief detention (and 10-15 minutes is fairly brief) there might not be any reason to file any charges.

Ah, that makes some sense. Certainly makes more sense than Luke's story of one police officer trying to stop a crowd of surging Steeler fans.

This part, of course, get's the award for unintentional irony:

"I would welcome [Officer Hoehn] to tell his side of the story, to be honest with you," the mayor said. He added that bureau policy generally bars statements by rank-and-file officers to the news media, and he would not personally order Officer Hoehn to break that policy.
So Mayor Luke would welcome Hoehn telling his side of the story knowing he's barred from doing so. And knowing he's barred from doing so, won't order him to tell his side of the story.

Ah, transparency in government, Pittsburgh style!

Of course, since it makes Luke look like a drunken frat boy, he charges that it's all "politically motivated" and that Bill Peduto is behind it all.

Yea, right.

Bill Peduto wasn't the one who had a few drinks and got rowdy enough to get hauled away in handcuffs by Pittsburgh Police. Bill Peduto isn't the one who denied all the allegations "months ago" to cover his own butt.

But of course, because he's been on McIntire's show a few times, Bill Peduto's behind it.

It makes about as much sense as a lone police officer charging into a surging, drunken crowd at Heinz Field to keep it from surging anymore.


The Burgher said...

And remember he was defending women and children ... at a Monday Night Football Game ... on Halloween.

Maybe he's right, I mean, what else would children do on Halloween?

Matt H said...

The Burgher:

Are you saying that children wouldn't be at the game just because it's Halloween night?

A lot of local townships and boroughs hold their Halloween Trick or Treating on the weekends. There are going to be a lot of children at any game no matter what "holiday" it falls on.

The Burgher said...

I'm saying he characterizes his actions as defending women and children, and while there were no doubt w & c in the crowd, a MNF game on Halloween is primarily male, wasted and rowdy.
The game starts at 9 p.m. Children are probably in bed, teenagers, maybe not, but there weren't a lot of 8-year-olds out that night.
Search your feelings you know it to be true.

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

The current Mayor of Pittsburgh was actually handcuffed and detained ten months before he became Mayor, while he was President of City Council. How many of you have ever been handcuffed at a Steelers game? Sorry, this is news. Whether the detention was warranted or not, the people have a right to know the full story, if only to assess if he's fit to be Mayor.

Maria said...

And, he spent months lying to the press about the incident.

Anonymous said...

So Luke says you can't believe the bloggers and that the blogs are full of lies about him?

"Please pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I am the great and powerful Oz!"

The only thing more disgusting than Luke calling other people liars was M. Griffin saying that Skrinjar is an honest guy...

PghWebMan said...

Personally I think the Pittsburgh police are sometimes rude and pushy, but to get to the point of handcuffs is another story. But with the recent fiasco with Commander McNeilly and now this, I will be voting for Peduto, which means this lifelong Republican will have to switch parties and become a Democrat then switch back again. Lie to me once, shame on you, lie to me twice, shame on me.

Judge Rufus Peckham said...

The handcuffs are the concern. Hey Maria, did Dave foul up the picture feature in your absence? Good to have you back.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get that Rich Lord was close but not exact? The words match 'got belligerent and pushed the cop'

lrgnet at gmail dot com said...

It's a shame that someone in this position has to stupe down to the level of media hungary ass-holes. The man is doing a great job, let him work and stop arguing children!

Spindoctor said...

This is yet another sad approach at cmapaign mud-slinging. Maybe everyone should focus on the real issues. Does anyone care about our mass transit? Does anyone notice that if you go downtown on a Saturday more than half of the businesses are closed? The way things are going, this big discussion about the Mayor and a Steelers game will be nothing compared to the day we lose our football team. Our focus should be a solution, not a childhood he said, she said. Everyone of you has had a confrontation at one time or another--who cares. I care about the working class people who can't afford to go to the football game and soon won't be able to take a bus to get their state assistance. The Mayor has stepped up, maybe the rest of us should do the same. Could you do it better? If so--please run for office I will help lead your campaign. Education is key--sadly from what I am to understand only one member of City Council even has an education--Luke Ravenstahl.