First, and this adds significant real-life context to the discussion we’ve been having, Pitt POV reader and commenter Russ Broman passed away yesterday. The cause of death was Coronavirus. Russ posted under the handle “RKB”, and was known for his outspoken opinions. Russ contracted COVID while working as an assistant DA in the Allegheny County Courthouse. Sadly, it’s possible that his death could have been avoided.
Per a July 13th article by KDKA:
Before going into the hospital, Broman filed a complaint against the Allegheny County court system with OSHA — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — and the family’s attorney directed KDKA’s Andy Sheehan to speak with Nightingale, one of several friends who Broman emailed, complaining of a lack for safety protocols in the courthouse and alleging that one judge, in particular, did not require masks in her courtroom.
“His message called into question court administration’s saying they’re doing everything possible to notify people who have been exposed, the masking guidelines were being strictly followed. It was, in my opinion, a plea for help and a cry for transparency,” said Nightingale.
Prior to the courts reopening the first week of June, President Judge Kim Berkley Clark ordered that all employees and judges wear masks. And after a court reporter tested positive, Clark sent out a letter on June 26 reaffirming that order.
“I have received reports that not everyone, including judges, is wearing a mask or face covering during court proceedings….Not wearing a mask is disrespectful and sends a message to the public and attorneys, that we care more about our personal comfort than we do about their safety. Failure to socially distance sends the same message,” Clark said in the letter.
And so, here we are. A good man has died because people were not wearing masks, and possibly because the court was not aggressive enough in implementing video conferencing and enforcing social distancing. Per a July 14th Trib article: Continue reading “Safe to Play?”