Acting Pittsburgh police chief Tom Stangrecki issued an order this week advising officers to return to the practice of enforcing minor traffic violations, such as broken headlights or expired inspection stickers.
The police bureau banned officers from enforcing those secondary traffic offenses after Pittsburgh City Council passed legislation last year barring officers from engaging in that practice.
Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess sponsored the legislation that he said disproportionally targeted African American drivers.
Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle spoke with Councilman Burgess, who said he was unaware of the reversal and he had no idea why Police changed the policy.
EARLE: Do you think they are almost slapping this back in your face?
Rev. Ricky Burgess: I don’t take this personally, but again I just think they should reconsider it because I think it will actually have the reverse effect and make us less safe.
Burgess said he stands by the ordinance and the data supports it.
“We have shown through data that when you do these secondary stops it targets disproportionately African Americans and African American communities,” said Councilman Burgess.
Target 11 reached out to the city on Monday.
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The city sent an emailed response Tuesday afternoon, stating that the move was made because of recent changes to state law.