’BURGH
Arresting development

Top cop says all clean in Joey Porter arrest

Pittsburgh police Officer Paul Abel conducted himself appropriately and professionally while arresting Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter on the South Side, acting Chief Scott Schubert said Tuesday night.

"In order to clear the air regarding conflicting reports in the media surrounding the circumstances that led to the arrest of Mr. Porter, I reviewed video available from several vantage points, including the arresting officer's body-worn camera," Schubert said in a prepared statement. "I have concluded that the officer's account of the incident is accurate, and our officer conducted himself in the professional manner that is to be expected.

"Once the altercation began, the officer turned on his body-worn camera as soon as he was safely able. I support the actions of Officer Paul Abel in this arrest."

Megan Guza writes for the Tribune-Review that hours earlier, Citizens Police Review Board Executive Director Beth Pittinger announced she opened an investigation into the arrest outside an East Carson Street bar by Abel — whose actions previously have come under scrutiny — because it has drawn "a great deal of public notoriety."

"There is so much public interest in (the incident)," Pittinger said. "The board wants to be in a position where it understands what transpired."

Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said the department will cooperate with the Review Board as it proceeds with its review.

Abel did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1 President Bob Swartzwelder said he's unsure why Abel's actions are being questioned if nothing he did has been pegged as questionable.

"Any conclusions (drawn from) the officer's actions is premature at this time," Swartzwelder said.

The Sunday night incident began when Abel, working an off-duty security detail in full uniform, tried to intervene in an argument between Porter and a security guard outside the bar, according to the criminal complaint filed against Porter.

The complaint alleged Porter ignored Abel's commands, picked up the security guard outside The Flats bar, grabbed Abel's wrists and refused to let go, and then walked into the street and continued to ignore Abel's commands.

Abel wrote in the complaint that Porter continued to yell "I didn't do anything" and "You're lying. I never touched you" throughout the ordeal.

Abel came under scrutiny in 2008 when he pistol-whipped and shot a South Side man while off-duty, alleging Kaleb Miller walked up to his car and punched him as he sat at a red light. Abel was charged with — and later acquitted of — drunken driving, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Abel remained on the force. The city settled a lawsuit filed by Miller for $44,500 in 2010.

In 2011, Abel was cleared of wrongdoing in a courthouse brawl that involved his brother-in-law, Desmond Thornton.

"Paul Abel, no matter what his public reputation might be — what is of interest to us right now is what transpired Sunday night," Pittinger said.

She continued: "What Porter did — I don't care that he's an assistant coach; it doesn't matter. I want to know what that guy did and how Officer Abel responded to Mr. Porter and what people who may have witnessed it saw and whether proper policy and procedure were followed."

Porter is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. He was released on $25,000 bond early Monday, court records show.

The Steelers suspended Porter on Monday. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 19.

"The only thing that matters is what happened in that moment with those people," Pittinger said.

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As if there wasn't a better way to kill weeds — you know, like any one of hundreds of products you can buy at your local home or hardware store or just some elbow grease and gloves — an Ohio man resorted to a blow torch.

He might have killed the weeds.

But the bigger casualty was his detached garage.

The Springfield News-Sun reports firefighters were called to the home about 4 a.m. Thursday to find the garage engulfed in flames.

Officials say losses from the garage, which also was storing tools and appliances, are between $10,000 and $15,000.

The cost of embarrassment? Priceless.

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Pawn shop says they’re not Dick’s in AR-15 sign

A pawn shop in South Carolina is using the backlash against Dick's Sporting Goods recent policy change of not selling guns, to advertise that they sell guns and aren't Dick's.

The Crossroads Pawn and Audio in Little River, S.C., put up the sign last week which reads, "We sell AR-15's because we're not Dick's."

The company also posted a photo of the sign to their Facebook page Tuesday, which was met with mostly supportive comments.



Barbara Davey, a manager of the shop, spoke to local TV station WPDE and said, "It was a simple marketing idea is all it was."

She said that the sign was met with some pushback, but has brought in more business.

"We have a few people, you know, who weren't in favor of the sign but our positive feedback really outweighed that negative feedback," said Davey.

The store posted a statement on Monday explaining their stance on guns: "An AR15 is NOT a combat weapon or a tactical assault rifle. In no way are the horrific massacres happening to our children and in our schools acceptable. This violence must stop."

They also support the NRA.



In February, Dick's, based in Findlay, announced that they would no longer sell assault-style weapons and restrict gun sales to those older than 21.

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What the cluck?

Crash dumps 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers on highway

A semi made a fowl mess when it rolled over on Interstate 5 north of Tacoma: It dumped about 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers across the roadway.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson says the driver told investigators he fell asleep at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and lost control of the truck, which hit a guardrail and overturned.


The truck was hauling the feathers from a Foster Farms poultry facility to West Coast Reduction, a rendering company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company's website says it recycles animal byproducts into ingredients for many items, including pet feed and soap.

The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma reports that the highway backed up for 11 miles as crews worked to scoop up the feathers. All lanes reopened by about 7:30 a.m.

Johnson said the driver would be cited for negligent driving.

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