Mayor forces police chief to resign

By Julian Routh | Asst. News Editor

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl asked Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper to resign late Wednesday after meeting with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The resignation comes after the FBI’s recent investigations of credit union funds linked to Harper’s office and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

Ravenstahl, who supported Harper last week, announced in a press conference that he had “learned enough” in Wednesday’s meeting and acknowledged he could not discuss specifics, but reinforced that he is “not a target of the investigation.”

“I cannot endanger any ongoing investigation by specifically discussing what information I have learned or discussions that I have had,” Ravenstahl said.

Assistant Chief Regina McDonald will serve as acting police chief until the administration finds a replacement, Ravenstahl said. The mayor added that the search for a replacement is a “top priority” and will begin immediately.

“We would like to have a permanent replacement as quickly as possible,” Ravenstahl said. “But I will also tell you that we want to make sure that we are diligent and thorough and we get the right person for the job.”

Robert G. Del Greco Jr., Harper’s attorney, released a statement on behalf of Harper in response to Wednesday’s occurrences.

“It is apparent to me that the ongoing distractions and investigations make it no longer possible for Nate Harper to dedicate the time and energy necessary to faithfully discharge his duties as police chief,” the statement said. “Consequently, it is with a heavy heart that he has decided to retire as police chief for the City of Pittsburgh effective immediately.”

Del Greco’s statement also said Harper is “truly appreciative” to have served the city of Pittsburgh during his tenure as police officer and police chief.

With primary elections coming up in May, Ravenstahl said his decision to ask Harper to step down “has not, is not and will not be treated politically.”