Investigation: N.Y. officer who handcuffed EMT broke rules

Charles LoTiempo could lose his job and will remain suspended with pay until a decision is reached

By Leila Merrill
EMS1 Staff

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester police officer who was seen on video pushing an EMT and handcuffing her at Strong Hospital was found in a police investigation to have committed at least one violation of the Rochester Police Department Rules and Regulations.

A police department statement given to WHEC states in part that, “In accordance with The Collective Bargaining Agreement and New York State Civil Service Law, Investigator LoTempio has a right to a hearing regarding these violation(s).  Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is a range of potential discipline, up to and including dismissal from the Rochester Police Department.”

Monroe Ambulance EMT Lekia Smith opened an ambulance door, hitting the unmarked police car RPD Investigator Charles LoTiempo was sitting in, in the ambulance bay in July as she was unloading a patient.  Witnesses said that LoTiempo asked for her identification and Smith told him she would provide it after she got her patient inside the hospital and checked in. 

“Next thing I know she’s trying to walk this way and he comes up grabs her and is like holding her under arrest and she’s like “sir, I have a patient” and I’m like I can’t take this guy by myself and he lets her bring him in to the hospital with me and then I didn’t hear everything that was being said and asked because I was on the phone calling operations,” Smith’s partner told investigating officers, according to the news outlet who did not name the EMS provider, “from what I heard, it sounds like she said she would work with him after we got him off the stretcher and the next thing you know, he goes to the sub waiting room, talks to somebody and comes back and says she’s under arrest and slams her into the registration desk then she’s in cuffs and out the door,” she added.

A video showed that Smith was handcuffed, placed in the back of a patrol car and kept there for more than 20 minutes. Supervisors with Monroe Ambulance came to the scene, and Smith was released.

She had minor injuries.

LoTiempo has not been charged but was put on administrative assignment and then suspended with pay.

LoTiempo has 10 days to decide whether to plead guilty to the violations cited in the internal investigation.  If he pleads not guilty, a hearing officer will hear his case.  He will continue to be suspended with pay until a decision is reached. 


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