PITTSBURGH – The city of Pittsburgh has reached a settlement with Dennis Henderson, an African-American teacher who was arrested and jailed for 12 hours in June of 2013 after criticizing the speed of a white Pittsburgh police officer driving by. The settlement is pending approval by city council.
Under the terms of settlement, the city agrees to adopt a policy that acknowledges the public’s right to video tape police officers, to organize regular meetings in each police zone with members of the community, and to meet with University of Law professor David Harris to discuss recording data on pat-downs of citizens by the police department. Henderson will also receive $52,500 in damages and fees.
“I am encouraged that Mayor Peduto is dedicated to pursuing avenues to improve the culture, interactions and trust of the police department within our minority and low-income communities of Pittsburgh,” said Henderson, an award-winning social studies teacher at Manchester Academic Charter School who is represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
“I’m confident that we do have the capacity to change the historic pattern of profiling that does exist in our city,” he added.
“As events in Ferguson, New York and other cities have shown, the ability to record police is a vital, if not complete, check on the power of law enforcement,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We applaud the city of Pittsburgh for taking steps to improve relations between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect.”
The case is Henderson v. Gromek. Henderson is represented by Sara Rose and Witold Walczak of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
More information about the case, including a copy of the complaint, is available at: www.aclupa.org/henderson