A Pittsburgh police detective protesting the Covid-19 vaccination mandate for city employees has come under fire for giving unauthorized interviews to media outlets, including conservative websites, accused of spreading conspiracy claims.
Their appearances and interviews were unscheduled and unsanctioned, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.
Pittsburgh Police Detective Amy Dice claimed last week that she was among hundreds of Pittsburgh employees who were denied a religious exemption in their attempt to circumvent the city’s vaccination mandate. Locally, she spoke to WTAE, as well as national conservative media outlets like The Epoch Times and the RedPill78 podcast.
“(Dice) did not get permission from her supervisors and she did not notify the (Public Information Officers or PIOs) to speak to the media,” Pittsburgh Public Safety spokeswoman Amanda Mueller said. “The matter is under political scrutiny, but beyond that we cannot comment on personnel or disciplinary action.”
The bureau’s media policy defines an approved member as anyone “who has been granted authority to interact with outside media sources through the PIO, his/her manager, or this policy.” The policy requires that interviews by staff members who do not otherwise have express permission to speak to the media “must be approved by the PIO or the appropriate deputy chief of police.”
Dice did not respond to a request for comment regarding her unauthorized media appearances. However, she denied engaging in conspiracy theories.
Speaking to local Pittsburgh media, Dice claimed that she and hundreds of others are being fired for refusing to comply with the city’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate for city workers.
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The city said those claims were false and the numbers Dice shared were “inflated and incorrect,” Mueller said. Mueller also shared a sample letter sent to those who have been denied religious exceptions, stating that all disciplinary action will be suspended while negotiations with unions are ongoing.
“We want to be very clear that there is no threat to public safety,” the city’s statement said.
Dice said the city is not transparent.
She said union officials had told her that between 25% and 39% of police officers were unvaccinated and she had asked officers to make those numbers public.
“For the sake of transparency and to deter rumors, we believe citizens have a right to know the true numbers with evidence from the city,” Dice wrote in a statement sent to the Tribune-Review. “At the end of the day, it’s about the overall well-being of the citizens and their city.”
During her media interviews, Dice also shared information about her fundraiser to raise money to cover legal fees. She said in her interviews that the money raised should be used to sue the city because she doesn’t trust her union to handle the case.
Negotiations on the city’s vaccination policy are ongoing. Bob Swartzwelder, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1, did not respond to a request for comment.
When Dice appeared on the RedPill78 podcast, she spoke about her efforts to object to the city’s vaccination policy. She described the city as a “tyrannical government”.
Dice also spoke about combating pedophilia and its religion. Dice is a detective in the Special Victims Unit, which handles sensitive cases like sexual assault.
“All I do is chase pedos,” Dice said on the podcast. “This is my job. I’m coming for you. And now the city is trying to take that away from me, the mission that God gave me on this earth to protect these children, and they want to take that away from me?”
The show’s host Zak Paine has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, which believes without evidence that an underground cabal of Democratic lawmakers and elites sexually abuse children. Paine was also on the Capitol grounds during the January 6 riot. He called Dice a “good friend of the show” during the podcast.
The Epoch Times is also known for spreading conspiracy theories, including those related to QAnon.
Dice told the Trib that her work was a “mission from God” and denied any knowledge of QAnon.
Ryan Deto is a contributor to Tribune-Review. You can contact Ryan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .