PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Office of Municipal Investigations is reviewing remarks attributed to a veteran police officer to determine if the officer violated police policy.
Leon Ford was left paralyzed after he was shot by a Pittsburgh Police officer six years ago. After numerous court hearings and delays, the city awarded Ford $5.5 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit.
Now, Ford says he had an encounter with a Pittsburgh police officer over the weekend that upset him.
According to a post on Ford’s Facebook page, it happened on the North Shore on Saturday when Officer Paul Jenkins was working a second job near Heinz Field.
Ford wrote he smiled at Jenkins; the officer’s response was a “hateful glare.” Ford said he asked for the officer’s name, but Jenkins reportedly said, as Ford wrote, “he didn’t have to speak to me, and I was only looking for another check.”
“I was infuriated,” Ford wrote.
“For an officer to say to him, ‘you just want another check,’ to a young man who’s sitting in a wheelchair for life… I don’t care how much money he got. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair. I don’t care how much money somebody gives me,” civil rights activist Tim Stevens, with the Black Political Empowerment Project, said.
Stevens fired off letters to Mayor Bill Peduto and other city officials, calling the incident a “slap in the face” to ongoing efforts to improve police-community relations.
“We cannot let an incident like this stand without calling it out, and in my letter, I said, let’s use as a teachable moment for our fellow officers within the Police Bureau and that this officer be disciplined at the highest level possible,” he said.
WATCH: Pittsburgh Police Commander Eric Holmes addresses the allegations —
Commander Eric Holmes, the Chief of Staff for Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, says the incident is now under review by the city Office of Municipal Investigations. Police policy, Holmes says, states officers should give their names if asked and their name tags should be worn when in uniform.
Holmes indicated if the remarks attributed to Jenkins are proven to be correct, they were inappropriate. Holmes did not indicate what disciplinary action Jenkins could face.