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17 Aug, 2020 11:22

Protesters rally outside Pittsburgh mayor’s home amid outrage over unmarked police van ‘abducting’ BLM activist (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Protesters rally outside Pittsburgh mayor’s home amid outrage over unmarked police van ‘abducting’ BLM activist (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

A large crowd gathered in front of the home of Pittsburgh’s mayor to voice their disapproval with the city's government, after police were accused of using an unmarked vehicle to arrest a Black Lives Matter protester.

150 people marched to Mayor Bill Peduto’s home on Sunday, with protesters holding signs reading “you can’t kidnap all of us” and “Peduto is a bootlicker.” 

A video shows the group marching towards the mayor’s house as they chant “Bill Peduto has got to go.” 

The protest comes one day after a BLM activist was seized by police using an unmarked white van. A purported video of the incident shows demonstrators watching as police scramble back into the unmarked vehicle following the arrest. Pittsburgh police said the 25-year-old was detained because he blocked traffic, congesting an important intersection used for nearby hospitals. The protester was charged with failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways and other public passages. He was released on a recognizance bond on Sunday. Demonstrators claim that the man was “abducted” by police. 

Following the incident, Peduto expressed “serious concerns” and asked law enforcement to clarify when using unmarked vehicles in so-called “pop-up” arrests was warranted. However, it appears his position on the matter failed to impress the demonstrators, who gathered outside his home later in the day.

The use of unmarked cars to seize and detain protesters sparked nationwide controversy after federal agents deployed the tactic amid demonstrations in downtown Portland, Oregon. The Department of Homeland Security claimed its personnel were simply protecting federal property, but critics allege that protesters were grabbed off the streets without probable cause. Some of those detained were reportedly interrogated by law enforcement but never charged with a formal crime.

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