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Valley News Dispatch

Arnold's Karen Peconi remains hard to find amid Facebook controversy

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Monday, July 2, 2018, 2:33 p.m.
Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi
Courtesy of Karen Peconi
Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi

Embattled Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi was back at work in city offices Monday, but she still isn't responding publicly to calls for her resignation over her social media comment that people protesting last month's Antwon Rose police shooting should be hosed down with water cannons.

Peconi has been under fire since posting a video to her Facebook account that showed protesters being knocked down by powerful water cannons and commenting that the same approach should be used on people protesting the June 19 police shooting of Rose in East Pittsburgh.

Peconi also said on Facebook that protesters must be unemployed because they were able to demonstrate at 7 a.m. on a weekday.

During a protest Thursday outside Arnold's city hall , some people described Peconi's remarks as insensitive while others went as far as calling them racist. She wasn't in her office during the protest, which started at noon.

Peconi apologized for her remarks by email, and deleted her personal Facebook page. She has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

In addition to Peconi's resignation, protesters also asked for an administrative review of Arnold's police procedures and other practices.

Attempts to reach Peconi on Monday were unsuccessful. She was not in her office at Arnold city hall. Officials said she was across the street at the police station, meeting with a staffer of U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills.

Police Chief Eric Doutt confirmed she was there for a meeting.

A reporter waited at her office for more than an hour, until after noon, but she did not return.

Arnold is continuing to get blowback over Peconi's remarks. A white postcard that arrived for the mayor made a woman at city hall gasp. The front was hand-addressed with a Chattanooga, Tenn., post office stamp but no return address. The back had only the image of an extended middle finger.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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