The family of Romir Talley wants answers.
While Allegheny County police said that Talley, a 24-year-old Black male, fired a shot towards a Wilkinsburg police officer during a chase, prompting the officer to return fire, striking and killing Talley on Dec. 22, the family isn’t satisfied with that explanation.
“Romir has been painted to be an aggressive and violent young Black man, but he was a beautiful, bright young man that the system failed,” Latasha Talley, Romir’s mother, said in a statement read by attorney Todd J. Hollis to the media on Dec. 24. “My heart is broken. Our family wants justice.”
County Police said Wilkinsburg officers responded to reports that a man with a gun was threatening another person near the intersection of Penn Avenue and Wood Street. Wilkinsburg police found a man whom they thought matched the suspect’s description about two blocks away from the intersection. After a chase, Talley was pronounced dead at the scene just after 1 a.m.
The most recent vigil for Talley took place on Dec. 29 near an alley in Wilkinsburg where Amber Sloan, a local community activist, told the crowd that the shooting of Talley actually took place. That information, Sloan said, is not being properly disseminated across local news outlets—she said media reports are making it appear as though Talley was shot in an open area near Penn Avenue and Wood Street.
“Even though there are a lot of questions that we don’t know the answers to, the main thing is there’s a family that’s hurting, a family that needs support, love and resources,” said Pastor Dorothy Stubbs of New Evangelistic Ministries in Wilkinsburg. “We understand that we need each other to survive. So we come out here today because we understand that here’s another man that’s lost…we come out in a positive way to say to the family, what can we do to help?”
“This is yet another example of needed police oversight,” said Olivia Bennett, an Allegheny County Councilwoman. She told the crowd at the vigil that she will continue fighting for a county-wide citizen police review board, “so we know that our police officers are working under one single standard.”
County Police, not Wilkinsburg Police, are handling the full investigation, which is ongoing. The name of the Wilkinsburg Police officer who shot Talley multiple times has not been publicly identified. Wilkinsburg Mayor Marita Garrett said she’s confident the police officer in question followed proper protocol.
Hollis, at the Dec. 24 news conference, said he believes there’s surveillance video of the encounter, which, if there is video, has not yet been made available to the public. He also said Latasha Talley, Romir’s mother, “is willing to accept whatever that truth is” of what exactly transpired early Dec. 22. “Whether that truth is good or bad, she’s willing to accept it. But she wants the truth, she needs the truth.”
ROMIR TALLEY, shown in this photo with his mother, Latasha. (Feature Photo)
by Rob Taylor Jr., Courier Staff Writer