Pittsburgh police officer with history of controversial arrests is off the job

PITTSBURGH — Target 11 has learned that a Pittsburgh police officer who’s been the subject of more than a dozen complaints with the Citizen Police Review Board has been suspended pending termination.

According to multiple law enforcement sources, the city suspended Officer Paul Abel and plans to fire him.

Both the Public Safety Department and the police officers’ union declined to comment.

But Target 11 has learned the suspension comes after the arrest of a homeless man on the Northside. It’s unclear what action led to his suspension.

Abel has been the subject of multiple internal investigations.

In September, Abel was caught on camera arresting a man who questioned the thin blue line mask Abel was wearing in Squirrel Hill.

The Citizen Review Board and the Office of Municipal Investigations are looking into the arrest.

In November 2019, Deandre Rutherford was recording on his cell phone when he questioned Abel at the West End police station about a report accusing Rutherford of interfering in a police matter.

Rutherford claims Abel became upset and handcuffed and detained him.

The review board is still investigating.

Abel was also involved in the 2017 arrest of then-Steelers assistant Coach Joey Porter outside a bar on the South Side.

The review board, based partly on Abel’s controversial past, conducted an investigation and ultimately cleared Abel.

In 2008, Abel, who was off duty at the time, was charged with aggravated assault after allegedly pistol whipping a man and his gun accidentally discharged.

Abel was suspended but later cleared of the charges and then reinstated through arbitration.

Abel has been given five days to explain why he shouldn’t be fired. If he is ultimately terminated, he could lose his pension.