Mayor Ravenstahl: Policeman in Taser Incident Should be Fired

Mar 18, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has threatened to fire a police detective who allegedly placed a stun gun against the neck of a man who fell down before he was arrested for public drunkenness on Saturday.

Detective Frank Rende was working an off-duty security detail on the South Side during Saturday's St. Patrick's Day weekend festivities when the incident occurred.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said tests show the stun gun wasn't fired, which supports Rende's version of the incident as spelled out in a criminal complaint against 27-year-old Mark Keyser.

However, Ravenstahl said he still believes the officer should be fired because he thinks an internet video of the encounter shows Rende going out of his way to confront the man, who appeared to fall after Rende approached him.

"Regardless of whether (the stun gun) went off or not, he clearly engaged the individual and went out of his way, 20 or 30 yards down the street, to go after this individual," Ravenstahl said. "If the Taser didn't go off, it appeared he intended it to go off, and clearly his force took the individual to the ground."

Detective Rende was also one of the Pittsburgh policemen who used a Taser and a baton on an unruly man at PNC Park in 2011.