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Police overtime costs top $1M for Antwon Rose protests

August 3, 2018

A woman raises her in front of stopped traffic after more than 150 people took over the Parkway East in both directions, Thursday, June 22, 2018 to protest East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld East fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, a Woodland Hills High School honors student.

Pittsburgh and county police have spent more than $1.2 million on overtime for officers to monitor protests in the aftermath of the killing of Antwon Rose.

Overtime costs at just the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police have exceeded $1 million since East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld shot and killed 17-year-old Rose, who was unarmed. Rosfeld is white, and Rose was black.

Protesters have taken to streets in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities since the June 19 killing. They shut down the Parkway East for more than five hours and briefly stopped traffic on Route 28. Demonstrations blocked Downtown streets during rush hour and snarled traffic as a Pirates baseball game let out at PNC Park on the North Shore.

Pittsburgh officers working 12-hour shifts following the shooting cost the city $1,081,089 in overtime pay as of July 6, according to the Public Safety Department. The overtime costs are adding to mounting police bureau costs, according to Controller Michael Lamb. He said the bureau had spent more than half of its $78.7 million operating budget by June.

“As of June 30, they were $2.5 million over budget,” Lamb said. “It’s going to be hard for them to make that back within their own department.”

Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, said the bureau would make up the difference before year’s end.

“There is no skimping when it comes to public safety,” McNulty said. “There have been unique situations this year requiring extra police staffing -- including responding to landslides and staffing for protests -- and the city budget office will find a way to keep the police budget balanced by the end of December.”

Allegheny County Police spent $132,885 as of July 5, according to Amie Downs, spokeswoman for county Executive Rich Fitzgerald. She said police Superintendent Coleman McDonough won’t know how that would impact the $34.1 million police budget until later in the year.

Protests cost the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office $31,822 in overtime as of July 17, according to Commander Kevin Kraus. The department’s total operating budget is $19.7 million.

“Certainly, we’re going to have to make some adjustments to try and make up for this somehow,” Kraus said. “This was something that wasn’t expected, and we don’t have any type of contingencies in the budget.”

Pennsylvania State Police could not immediately provide overtime cost for troopers involved in the protests, which at times have spilled onto state highways. Cpl. Adam Reed, a state police spokesman, said he expected the costs to be “minimal.”

Pittsburgh police last week issued a new policy on where and when people could protest without a permit. The policy allows unpermitted protests but not on major city streets or intersections.

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