N.Y. officer who handcuffed EMT suspended, faces investigation

EMT Lekia Smith, who was not charged and was treated for minor injuries, has released a statement and hired a lawyer


By Leila Merrill

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester police investigator who handcuffed EMT Lekia Smith at Strong Memorial Hospital has been suspended with pay and is being investigated, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.

The suspension was announced Monday, and his name has not been released. He was previously put on administrative leave.

The Police Accountability Board is investigating.

Previous news reports said that the investigator’s car was parked in the ambulance bay in front of the emergency department when the EMT bumped it while opening her door to unload a patient. He asked for her identification, but Smith brought the patient into the hospital first. Then he handcuffed her.

A supervisor intervened, the Democrat & Chronicle reported, and the EMT was not charged.

Monroe Ambulance said its employee sought medical attention for minor injuries, Rochester First reported

Monroe Ambulance released a statement commending Police Chief David Smith and Mayor Malik Evans.

"It is my opinion that the manifestation of this altercation is not representative of the values of the Rochester Police Department and certainly not that of leadership thereof," Chris Dewey, Monroe Ambulance's chief information officer, said in the statement.

"While we (Monroe leadership) have concluded that our patient care provider had not conducted herself in a manner misrepresenting the value of our organization, we are respectful of due process by RPD leadership into the investigation of this event," the statement said.

Smith has hired an attorney and reportedly wants the officer to be fired.

She released a statement that says:

“Hello, my name is Lekia Smith. Right now I want to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers during this time. I am still having some mental and physical difficulty after this incident, but despite it all, I am a fighter. I am just glad that God allowed me to still be here to speak my truth, unlike those who have come before me.

"Once I am feeling better I just want my life to go back to normal and continue on in my career as an EMT. I pray that this never happens to anyone again and I also pray that the justice that is needed in this situation is served swiftly.”

 

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