Police Officer Handcuffs EMT While She Attends Patient
A New York policeman has been suspended with pay after handcuffing an EMT in a hospital emergency room after hitting his vehicle while unloading a patient from an ambulance.
The officer handcuffed EMT Lekia Smith in the emergency department of Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Security video shows the officer backing Smith into a corner as she stood beside a patient on a stretcher. He grabs her arm, cuffs her hands behind her back, and takes her outside.
The incident is under investigation, but authorities would not disclose the officer’s name.
Smith’s lawyer, Elliot Shields, said the incident began outside after the investigator parked in the ambulance bay. The EMT got out of her ambulance to unload a patient and hit the police car with her door. The investigator asked for her identification, but Smith explained she had to get her patient inside first.
The investigator caused Smith to lose her grip on the gurney before she broke free, Sheilds said. The officer handcuffed the EMT in the hospital, then took her to his vehicle for questioning before he let her go, he added.
“We don’t need investigators — high-ranking officers — who are out there acting like that, endangering the community,” said Shields.
Smith released a statement saying she has “some mental and physical difficulty” but wants to return to work as an EMT and to see justice served swiftly.
Rochester Police Chief David Smith promised a thorough investigation.
“Obviously, this incident is deeply concerning to me,” he said in a statement.
Rochester’s police union, the Locust Club, called the investigator’s suspension “perplexing.”
“The incident in question reached a mutually acceptable resolution that day when both the investigator and the EMT were able to jointly discuss the reasons for their actions, and both accepted each other’s explanations,” it said in a statement.