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Police Brutality in Pittsburgh: Looking Forwards, Looking Back
10/07/2004
Jonny Gammage, Jr. Beaten to death by 5 police officers in the Overbrook section of Pittsburgh on October 12th, 1995, the case of Jonny Gammage divided Allegheny County and shocked people across the world. From the beginning race was a central issue. The five police officers implicated in Gammage's death were all white. Gammage was black. Although a racially-mixed coroner's jury unanimously voted to indict all five officers, the first time that a police officer was ever indicted in Allegheny County, the eventual criminal trials were by jurors imported from the whitest corners of the State. Outrage at the outcome of the case -- two mistrials and one not-guilty verdict -- caused the City of Pittsburgh to create the Citizen's Police Review Board. Years later, the echoes of the case still shape city race-relations and the lack of trust that many residents of Pittsburgh have for the police.

October marks an important month for organizing against police brutality. In addition to the 9th anniversary of the Gammage Case, October 22 is designated a "national day of protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation." Over 20 cities are participating. In Pittsburgh, People Against Police Violence has called for a 4pm rally and march to bring awareness to the ongoing regional cases of Charles Dixon, Bernard Rogers, Michael Ellerbe, and Damian Jordan: all cases of black men and youth whose deaths the police bear responsibility for.

[ Jonny Gammage Retrospective] [ Interview with Pete Shell ] [ People Against Police Violence ] [ October 22nd Coalition ]

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