Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Richardson charged with DUI
A Pittsburgh mayoral candidate suspected of drunken driving told police who found him slumped over the wheel of a running vehicle early Wednesday that he was “going to be mayor” and that the officers were “subservient to the white man,” officers reported.
As he was released from custody, A.J. Richardson, 36, of Sheraden denied that he was drunk behind the wheel and blamed the arrest on a conspiracy to discredit him as a candidate. He later did an about-face and said he would plead guilty to the charges.
“This is a weak, feeble attempt to discredit me. I was not intoxicated. I know the officers. People have been following me, and all of this is strategic,” Richardson said as he left the Allegheny County Jail.
“I'm totally innocent,” he said, vowing to stay in the race.
A few hours later, Richardson was contrite when he appeared for a mayoral debate at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I want to apologize to each and every one of you and also to the city of Pittsburgh for my actions,” Richardson said. “I shouldn't have been drinking. It was senseless. It was reckless. It's not who I am.”
Richardson then left the debate, saying he had to “mentally and emotionally regroup.”
Police charged Richardson with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a vehicle registration. He was arraigned in Pittsburgh Municipal Court and released on his own recognizance to await a preliminary hearing scheduled next week .
Officers found a green minivan stopped in the middle of Steuben Street in the West End about 3 a.m. Wednesday. They yelled and hit the driver's door window to wake Richardson, according to a criminal complaint.
Richardson nearly fell when police ordered him to do field sobriety tests, the complaint said. He refused to take tests to determine his blood alcohol content and “became verbally hostile stating that he was going to be mayor, repeatedly,” according to the complaint.
Police said Richardson told the officers: “Let me talk to someone who's in charge because y'all brothers are subservient to the white man. … Y'all brothers, you should have some backbone and be a voice for the black people.”
Both officers are black, as is Richardson.
Officers towed Richardson's vehicle, which had front-end damage and a flat tire. He denied he hit anything.
Court records show he has a record of traffic-related arrests and court appearances for failing to pay rent to three landlords.
In September 2008, Munhall police charged Richardson with terroristic threats, public drunkenness, harassment and two counts of disorderly conduct.
The charges of terroristic threats, public drunkenness and one count of disorderly conduct were withdrawn. Munhall District Judge Thomas R. Torkowsky found Richardson not guilty on the summary harassment and disorderly conduct charges.
Richardson pleaded guilty before Crafton District Judge Dennis Joyce in October 2010 to a summary offense for operating a vehicle without a valid inspection.
Court records show a July 2012 conviction in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for running a red light. District Judge Oscar Petite in September found Richardson guilty of harassment.
Bobby Kerlik and Margaret Harding are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Bob Bauder contributed to this report. Kerlik can be reached at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com. Harding can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Penguins notebook: Crosby practices, feels better
- Inside the glass: Johnston’s opening practice grueling
- Crosby limited in early return to Penguins training camp
- In U.S., 1 in 4 say secession favorable
- Judge lifts order blocking racy state emails
- Shiite, Sunni clashes in Yemeni capital kill 120
- License plate scanner networks gotcha
- Floods paralyze Manila
- Penguins’ new 3rd jersey similar to early 1990s version
- Shots fired at student in Hill District