President Donald Trump hasn’t actually fired special counsel Robert Mueller yet, but for some reason, city officials in Pittsburgh are already planning to clamp down hard on protests that might erupt if he does.
In an email obtained by WTAE reporter Marcie Cipriani, Pittsburgh Police Commander Victor Joseph instructed his officers to begin bringing full riot gear to work every day, effective Thursday, on the off-chance that protests might happen.
The email reads, in full:
We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District.
There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing.
The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice.
Based on this information, beginning tomorrow, April 19, 2018, all Major Crimes detectives are required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment (riot gear) with them to work until further notice.
We may be needed to assist in the event that there is a large scale protest.
The uniform requirement does not apply to any detectives on modified duty.
If you have any questions please let me know.
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
1203 Western Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
Cipriani later confirmed the email with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who described the measure as “precautionary,” which is pretty damn weird considering an entire unit of detectives will be schlepping all their riot gear to work with them every day just in case people decide to exercise their First Amendment right.
There are, in fact, protests planned in Pittsburgh should Trump choose to fire Mueller, but they’re not top secret, “semi-spontaneous” events. A quick internet search shows more than 450 people have publicly pledged to rally outside the Pittsburgh City-County building as part of the nationwide series of “Nobody is Above the Law” protests organized by a host of liberal and left-leaning groups. No major sleuthing required!
I have reached out to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to learn more about what prompted this directive, and whether it stemmed from any specific intelligence the bureau may have regarding plans to fire Robert Mueller. What do the Pittsburgh cops know that we don’t???? I will update this story if I find out.
UPDATE, 3:00 p.m. ET: In an email to Splinter, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich wrote:
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police receives information daily that we evaluate and prepare for if the event should occur. Events can include anything from extreme weather to potential demonstrations.
Often the events we prepare for do not occur. However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response.
We receive information regularly about potential events and/or threats, assess the credibility of the information and plan for a potential event. In this case, we have not assessed the credibility of the potential for disturbances, and we do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process.