by Chris Potter
Remember Bradley Walker, the detective who attacked an unsuspecting motorist in 2010 during an apparent road rage incident? Remember how the city was getting sued for not removing Walker from the force prior to that point, when he had numerous complaints lodged against him? Remember how I said it would be "ironic" if the city was able to dodge the blame in court by claiming Walker was off-duty during the road-rage incident, considering a judge in another case ruled that officers are never really off-duty -- even when they accidentally shoot someone? Well, guess what: The legal system is ironic. And in other policing news, it looks like former/indicted police Chief Nate Harper was talking to the FBI much earlier than previously known. And that his side business involved more officers. Meanwhile, it's still a mystery as to where some $38,000 in public funds that weren't spent by Harper ended up.
And as if to prove over-the-top allegations against police aren't just a 'Burgh thing, Beaver County Sheriff George David is indicted for making threats against a campaign volunteer and a blogger. State Attorney General Kathleen Kane says of David, "It's not enough for law officers to simply abide by the law. They must also set a good example for others." Really? Someone should tell the Pittsburgh police!
Last week, the state's top official at the Department of Environmental Protection, Michael Krancer, stepped down -- to work as a lawyer for the energy companies he used to "regulate," of course. And who better to serve as an interim replacement than a staffer with no environmental experience, who appears to be serving only part-time? This state belongs to gas-drillers, folks. The rest of you just live here.
"Mon/Fayette Expressway advocates optimistic" reads the Tribune-Review headline. Well of course they are -- how else could they still be expressway advocates after all this time? But now they are pinning their hopes on Gov. Tom Corbett's transportation spending plan. Since, you know, all the maintenance on existing roads has been taken care of.
I've avoided offering up too many headlines concerning GOP plans to revamp the way the state parcels out votes in the Electoral College, since the Republicans can't win the old-fashioned way. Perhaps I'm as starry-eyed as a Mon-Fayette proponent, but I don't see a lot of movement on these plans, and I find it hard to believe that even state Republicans can be THAT shameless. But Democrats are taking plans being kicked around Harrisburg very seriously, and maybe they're right. If nothing else, it's a great fundraising tool! In any case, they are sounding the alarm through robocalls and e-mail blasts.