On January 6, 2021, McKeesport residents and members of Take Action Mon Valley were denied the ability to attend, both in-person and virtually, a meeting of the McKeesport City Council in which residents were planning to address the actions of police in December during the search for a shooting suspect. The residents felt that police violated their rights during the search and were working with Take Action Mon Valley to publicly organize a number of residents to share oral comments on the issue. In anticipation of their arrival, the city council implemented “COVID procedures” to close the meeting to the public and deny any form of public observation and participation. This is a violation of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Working with Take Action Mon Valley, the ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to the McKeesport City Council detailing legal concerns with the closure of the meeting leading to residents' inability to provide comments. The council has failed to offer assurance that it plans to follow the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and accommodate public participation for future meetings.


Witold Walczak of ACLU-PA; Charles Kelly, Michael Joyce, Esq., Allison Burdette, Esq., and John A. Marty, Esq. of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

Date filed

March 1, 2021


Court of Common Pleas