Protest outside Allegheny County Jail blocks traffic; 11 arrested

November 14, 2018

Pittsburgh police arrested 11 people for blocking traffic in connection with a protest in front of the Allegheny County Jail.

Protesters blocked Second Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh during a demonstration Thursday evening.

About two dozen people protested what they called the inhumane treatment of transgender women at the jail, according to Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV.

The news station reported protest organizers told them Allegheny County Jail Warden Orlando Harper has turned a blind eye toward sexual harassment and the jail hasn’t complied with federal laws regarding sexual assault.

Pittsburgh Public Information Officer Chris Togneri said 10 of the 11 protesters were cited on charges of obstruction of roadways, then released and permitted to continue protesting on the sidewalk.

The other person was arrested and taken to the Allegheny County Jail after she allegedly refused to identify herself to arresting officers.

Togneri said Second Avenue is designated a “yellow zone,” according to protest guidelines published by the city on July 27.

“Per the guidelines, traffic in yellow zones cannot be blocked during a.m. and p.m. rush hour times,” he said. “If they are, police will issue three warnings, with the second warning coming five minutes after the first, and the third warning coming two minutes after the second. When officers moved in to clear the roadway, the majority of protesters returned to the sidewalk, but 11 did not.

“The city remains committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of protesters while assuring that all people - from protesters to city residents and motorists who may be affected by road closures - are kept safe.”

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