Pittsburgh officer with a history of complaints and suspensions no longer employed by city

Pittsburgh officer with a history of complaints and suspensions no longer employed by city
(WPXI/Cox Media Group)

Pittsburgh — Target 11 has learned that a Pittsburgh police officer who has been the subject of more than a dozen complaints is no longer employed by the city.

Details of the departure have not been disclosed, but Target 11 reported earlier that Officer Paul Abel had been suspended pending termination. Now that he is fired, he could lose his pension.

The Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge #1 police union says it will fight the termination.

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“The union does not believe the city will meet its burden of successfully terminating Officer Abel once all the evidence is heard,” FOP President Bob Swartzwelder said in a statement.

Abel was originally suspended 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 Pittsburgh 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 that incident.

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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 that incident.

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.