On Oct. 6, Patrick Young says that during a verbal confrontation with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, he watched a loud, but non-violent, protester get hit by a police Taser while already being held by police. On Oct. 22, Young will help lead a march through several Pittsburgh neighborhoods against police violence.
Young, of Lawrenceville, is a campaigner/researcher for the United Steelworkers of America. He is also a member of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, which has led many anti-war protests here -- and attracted an increasingly large police presence at its events. Police in full riot gear and carrying so-called "less-lethal" weapons, Young contends, are wielding "potentially deadly force against non-violent protesters to scare people out of protest activity."
Pittsburgh's march is part of an annual protest day featuring marches around the country. But Young and other organizers emphasize that their concerns go beyond the injustices they see in several prominent local cases.
Says POG member De'Anna Caligiuri, the march will be held "not just to protest and address a few bad apples in the police, but protest and address the entire system. My hope is just that it will call attention to very concrete and local institutions that are part of the overarching system that we're opposed to."
Concludes Young: "Police brutality and police repression go unconfronted because we're busy confronting other very very damaging policies" of the Bush administration. "Right now we're engaged in two illegal wars. The best way that the U.S. government has to allow these wars to happen is through police repression of opposition. The most important part of this march is that it's happening."
Noon, Sun., Oct. 22, starting in Friendship Park, Friendship Avenue and South Mathilda Street, Bloomfield, ending at East Liberty police station.