Senate candidate John Fetterman addresses pulling gun on Black jogger in 2013

Fetterman maintained he initially had no idea of the race or gender of the jogger he stopped after reportedly hearing gunshots.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman detained an unarmed Black jogger while brandishing a shotgun in 2013. 

The 51-year-old Democrat was serving his second of four terms as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania at the time, a job he held for 14 years. According to local police, Fetterman told authorities he heard gunshots before seeing the man running.

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor and Senate candidate John Fetterman. (Fox43 Capitol Beat)

Now, Fetterman is running for a U.S. Senate position and has released a video explaining the incident. It begins with him showing tattoos on his arms that mark the dates nine people in his impoverished community were “taken by violence.”

He went on to tearfully use the violence he’s experienced in the small town as an explanation for why he made the “split-second” decision to stop and detain the Black man, who was running towards an elementary school.

That man, Christopher Miyares, ended up just being a 28-year-old area resident who was simply jogging, reportedly wearing all-black running clothes at the time, with headphones atop his ears. According to The New York Times, when officers arrived, Miyares was patted down, and no weapons were found. He was subsequently released. 

Afterward, Fetterman maintained that he had no idea what the race or gender of the person was before he began his pursuit.

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“The runner could have been my mother for all I knew,” he said in 2016, according to The Philly Voice, “thanks to what the jogger was wearing.”

Fetterman was never charged for the incident, and since then, he has been vocal about police reform, The Times reports. It should also be noted that Braddock, Pennsylvania’s population is about 65% Black.

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“We must fall on the side of de-escalation every time, and the prevailing attitude must shift to one of service, where residents feel like they are partners with the police,” wrote Fetterman in an op-ed during 2020’s summer of protests.

Reactions to his revisit ran the gamut on social media from welcoming to dismissive.

Fetterman has never shied away from proclaiming that Black Lives Matter on his social media channels. His political messaging has a clear progressive and liberal tone, and he has promised to try and unify the nation in a post-Donald Trump America. 

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