ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester police officer is on paid suspension following an incident Monday involving an employee of Monroe Ambulance at Strong Memorial Hospital.
On July 11, it’s alleged the Monroe Ambulance employee bumped their door against the officer’s patrol car. The officer then detained the employeewhile she was tending to a patient.
On Thursday, police chief David Smith was made aware of the situation and then conducted an internal investigation. Monroe Ambulance said the employee sought medical attention for minor injuries after the incident.
On Monday, the organization Save Rochester said the ambulance employee — whom they identified as EMT Lekia Smith — secured a lawyer and wants the RPD officer fired.
Attorney Elliot Shield confirmed that Smith intends to file a notice of claim, intending to sue the City of Rochester and the officer involved. Additionally, Smith has filed a complaint with the Police Accountability Board, Shield said.
Monroe Ambulance said the safety of their crew and their patients are of the utmost importance. They felt video footage of the incident shows the safety of both the employee and the patient jeopardized by the actions of the officer — and their employee showed sound decision-making by prioritizing the care of her patient. They also said the actions of the officer do not represent the values of the RPD.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans shared a similar thought in a statement, saying he expects more from city employees and especially from a police officer. Evans said he looks forward to the outcome of the investigation.
The Police Locust Club Monday called the suspension ‘perplexing,’ saying the incident reached a ‘mutually acceptable resolution’. They said the actions of Chief Smith lead them to believe the investigator’s actions have already been determined.
Save Rochester put out a statement in response, calling the Locust Club statement “egregiously misleading and wholly treacherous.” Save Rochester said Smith has suffered long-lasting mental, physical and emotional trauma. She wants to see more from the RPD.
“In all honesty, I’m thinking that she would like to see the Rochester Police Department definitely come up with some kind of punitive resolution up to and including termination,” said Mike Johnson with Save Rochester.
Full statement from Lekia Smith
“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.”