PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has launched an internal investigation into an officer after allegations of misconduct toward Leon Ford on the North Shore this weekend.
Earlier this year, the city of Pittsburgh settled a lawsuit with Ford for $5.5 million for being left paralyzed after an encounter with police.
Ford says he was crossing the street in a his wheelchair and said hello to an officer who was working a security detail. Ford claims that officer didn't reply and gave him a hateful glare.
Ford said he asked the officer to give him his name and badge number and the officer replied, 'I don't have to talk to you. You're looking for another check.'
A spokesperson told Channel 11 it's against policy for an officer not to give their name and badge number, and it appears that the officer was not wearing his name tag in the picture Ford took of him.
That is also against department policy.
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Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Eric Holmes said the Office of Municipal Investigations is checking if the officer's body camera was on and recording.
"Certainly they will check and see if there's footage, what that footage entails and if it was not on, why it was not on," Holmes said.
Holmes said the department is taking Ford's accusations very seriously.
"You often hear leadership say we're one incident away from something occurring so we recognized that and we understand that," Holmes said.
In the photos, it also appears the officer is not wearing his name tag, which could be another violation of department policy.
The officer's alleged behavior toward Ford prompted outrage from community leaders like Tim Stevens, the director of the Black Political Empowerment Project.
"He does not need to be penalized further or insulted when he tries to address a police officer in positive manner," Stevens said.
Stevens said there's been growing tension between police and the African-American community ever since the police shooting death of Antwon Rose. He says a small incident, like this one, could spark a major clash.
"It was something that we don't need as we try to improve community police relations," Stevens said.
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