Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board, addressed and defended the now-infamous 2013 incident in which he chased a Black jogger with a shotgun while he was mayor of the city of Braddock.
Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, went after the man believing he was involved in a shooting. It turned out that he was not, but Fetterman maintains that he had not engaged in racial profiling.
“I understand there’s history in Black and brown communities of profiling, but this … was simply an individual that had a mask, and I wasn’t aware of anything about it other than he was the only individual running from the gunfire,” he said.
At the time, Fetterman told local television station WTAE that he heard what sounded like “assault rifle gunshots” and saw a man running. Fetterman said he took a shotgun out of the vehicle and merely used it to detain the man until cops showed up. He claimed he did not point it at the man, later identified as Christopher Miyares, but Miyares said otherwise.
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Miyares said Fetterman “followed me into North Braddock and pulled a shotgun, and aimed it at my chest.”
Nine years later, Fetterman defended his actions. He claimed that he was doing his job as mayor and that he would not act the same way today because he no longer has that job.
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It was a decision I made in a split second to protect the community as the chief law enforcement officer,” he said, adding later, “It’s not something that I would repeat simply because right now I’m not in that kind of a role.
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Last month, the group American Leadership Action released an ad attacking Fetterman over the incident. It included clips of his television interview, including a moment where he said, “I believe I did the right thing but I may have broken the law during the course of it.”
Fetterman is facing off against Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz in November’s election. The two are set to square off in their only debate on October 25.