Fetterman, who was in the second of his four terms as mayor, never faced charges related to the incident.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D – PA) delivers an introduction for Governor Tom Wolf during an inaugural ceremony on January 15, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. / Photo Credit: Mark Makela
In 2013, the congressional candidate held an unarmed Black man named Christopher Miyares at gunpoint. The former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, explained himself in a video ad on Tuesday after facing questions from The New York Times.
Telling his account in the ad, Fetterman said he heard a “crushing burst of gunfire” when he was outside his home with his 4-year-old son and “immediately made a series of split-second decisions.” The Pennsylvania Democrat also said he saw someone “dressed entirely in black and a face mask” running in the direction of an elementary school, The Times reported.
Miyares had simply been out jogging when he encountered Fetterman.
“I made the decision to stop him from going any further until the first responders could arrive,” Fetterman said, noting that the incident happened around the time of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
In 2013, the politician told reporters that he chased Miyares in his pickup and used a 20-gauge shotgun he kept in the truck to hold him until the police arrived.
“I believe I did the right thing,” Fetterman told WTAE-TV at the time. “But I may have broken the law during the course of it. I’m certainly not above the law.”
Miyares said in 2013 that Fetterman had pointed the gun at his chest. But the former mayor denied the accusation. The man, who is Black and was unarmed, also said the noise heard in the area came from bottle rockets set off by a group of kids.
According to the police report, “Fetterman continued to yell and state that he knows this male was shooting.” But an officer who patted down Miyares didn’t find any weapons. Police added that the 28-year-old was wearing running clothes and headphones.
Fetterman, who was in the second of his four terms as mayor, didn’t face charges related to the incident. Just last year, the wife of the Senate candidate was at the center of a racist incident when she encountered a racist woman in a grocery store parking lot.
As Blavity previously reported, Gisele Barretto Fetterman, said the woman called her a racial epithet and told her that she wasn’t welcome in this country. Posting a video of the incident to Twitter, Gisele showed the racist woman saying “you’re a n****r.”
*TRIGGER WARNING* I love love love this country but we are so deeply divided. I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here. The confrontation continued into the parking lot where I was able to pic.twitter.com/kzSoxCVJ2x— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) October 11, 2020
According to The Times, Fetterman is now in the midst of what is expected to be one of the marquee Senate races nationwide next year. His campaign also comes at a time where police violence is a key focus around the country following the Black Lives Matter protests of last year.
The Democrat raised $1.5 million last month after emailing supporters and telling his Twitter followers that he was exploring a Senate race.
In addition to explaining himself in a video ad, Fetterman emailed a five-page document to The Times, emphasizing that he didn’t know Miyares’s race when he pursued him.
In a campaign video sent to the publication, the former mayor said he came to Braddock 20 years ago to fight against inequality.
“Braddock was a marginalized, wholly abandoned community,” he said. “That’s exactly where I wanted to spend my career.”