Disappearing Protestor – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2020
PIIN expresses its profound concern about the arrest of a peaceful demonstrator during a protest in Oakland on August 15th. This arrest was made by plainclothes officers, who whisked the protestor away in an unmarked van. We view such tactics as profoundly dangerous, not least because they make it difficult for the public to distinguish between the legitimate use of police power and criminal activity. And they appear to be contrary to the policy established by the city concerning protests which block public streets. We affirm that the right to peaceful protest is not without limit. But when the city has established a policy, and the protestors stay within the limits of that policy, the police should also respect those limits. This appears to be a provocative act on the part of the police to chill legitimate protest by terrorizing protestors. We ask that all charges against the protester in question be dropped, and that Pittsburgh city policy be clarified so that such tactics are never again used in the future.
The Public Safety Task Force of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN)
Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb