10 big problems with policing, and approaches to addressing them

Rich Lord & Juliette Rihl

Oct. 15, 2020

(Photo illustration by Natasha Vicens/PublicSource)

The death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis officer didn’t just set off protests. It enlivened discussion about the future of policing, nationally and around Pittsburgh.

Renewed police-community tensions have flared on Mayor Bill Peduto’s home street, at the Squirrel Hill farmer’s market, in front of the East Liberty Target store, and in countless protests throughout the region.

The issues affect everyone, from grieving families to taxpayers.

The cost of federal court verdicts and settlements in 40 police use-of-force lawsuits within Allegheny County, since 2009, is poised to exceed $12 million, ultimately covered by taxpayers. Eight of those lawsuits stem from police-involved deaths of Antwon Rose II, Jennifer Piccini, Nicholas Haniotakis, Gary Beto, Lawrence A. Jones Jr., Mark Daniels, Christopher M. Thompkins and Bruce Kelley Jr.

A mayoral Community Task Force on Police Reform is expected to release its recommendations for Pittsburgh soon. Based on reporting by PublicSource and others, before and after Floyd’s death, here are 10 of the region’s policing problems, and approaches under consideration here, or tried elsewhere.