The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Police Chief Nate Harper alleging that they demoted the Department's most senior Commander in retaliation for her divulging information to Pittsburgh City Council showing thatthe mayor'snominee for Public Safety Director may have improperly interfered in police operations. This lawsuit contends that the unjustified punishment to which Catherine McNeilly has been subjected violates her fundamental rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Pennsylvania's Whistleblower statute. The lawsuit requests that the court enjoin the defendants from engaging in further retaliatory conduct against Catherine McNeilly and issue an injunction against her demotion from Commander to Lieutenant.On January 10th, 2007, Chief Judge Ambrose granted a preliminary injunction to Catherine McNeilly, reinstating her as Police Commander. The city has indicated they intend to proceed with the lawsuit, which will now go to discovery and eventually to a full trial on the merits.

Press Releases


Timothy P. O'Brien, Jere Krakoff, Sara Rose (ACLU), Vic Walczak (ACLU)

Date filed

December 21, 2006