By Giovanni Ross
On June 30, about 50 demonstrators convened in downtown Wilkinsburg to protest the city’s public safety forum and to demand justice for Romir Talley. The event was organized by Pittsburgh I Can’t Breathe, a local Black organizing collective, along with the Talley family and Serve the People.
Romir Talley was shot seven times and killed by Wilkinsburg police in December 2019. Since then, the Talley family claims that they have received no word from the police about the conclusion of their investigation. No arrests have been made and the murderous officer’s name has not yet been released.
Pittsburgh CBS News reports that the investigation has been sitting at the District Attorney’s office for six months without receiving attention. The mayor claims that this is the reason why she has no control over the investigation, but she also claims that she does not believe a local investigation of the murder is warranted.
This political finger-pointing has drawn the ire of the Talley family who have repeatedly demand transparency from the Wilkinsburg City Council, Mayor, and Police Department. They call for an independent investigation and an end to the myriad lies peddled to them by the government and opportunist lawyers.
After marching from the Civically building to City Hall and reading the family’s demands, protesters regrouped in front of Wilkinsburg Mayor Marita Garrett’s house in Brackenridge, an affluent suburb of the borough. Demonstrators honked their horns and played loud music to attract the attention of the mayor’s neighbors while speaking about the death of Talley and the lack of transparency from Wilkinsburg city officials.
Protesters were greeted outside by Mayor Garrett along with her mother, Beverly Garrett. Corroborating eyewitness accounts claim that the mayor flashed a gun at several of the demonstrators as they lined up in front of her property.
The police assisted the Mayor and her mother in evacuating their property, however, once the Mayor got behind police lines, her mother broke through the police and assaulted one protester by grabbing her hair and yanking it. Police were only a few feet away from the incident, but they did not do anything to stop the assault. Instead, they allowed Mrs. Garrett to safely retreat into her home.
The organizers have promised to serialize this action, consistently disrupting the Mayor’s wealthy neighborhood until Talley’s family finds some kind of justice.