Rochester Police Investigation Concludes Officer Wrong to Arrest EMT

A professional standards investigation by the Rochester (New York) Police Department has recommended that a police officer who handcuffed an EMT last July face disciplinary charges. Investigator Charles LoTiempo will remain on suspended-with-pay status while the disciplinary process plays out.

On July 11, 2022, Monroe Ambulance EMT Lekia Smith arrived at Strong Memorial hospital with a patient. LoTiempo was parked at the emergency room in an unmarked police car. When Smith opened the door to the ambulance, her door struck LoTiempo’s vehicle prompting him to ask her for ID. Smith responded that she would provide ID after she delivered her patient, which led to LoTiempo placing her in handcuffs.

Smith reportedly spent approximately 20 minutes handcuffed in the back of a police car before being released without being charged. The Rochester Police Department immediately investigated this incident, and according to News10NBC released the following statement:

“The Professional Standards Section has completed their investigation into the actions of Investigator LoTempio on July 11, 2022, at Strong Memorial Hospital.  The investigation found at least 1 violation of the Rochester Police Department Rules and Regulations.  In accordance with The Collective Bargaining Agreement and New York State Civil Service Law, Investigator LoTempio has a right to a hearing regarding these violation(s).  Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is a range of potential discipline, up to and including dismissal from the Rochester Police Department.”

LoTiempo has ten days to make a decision about whether he will plead guilty to the charges, or contest them. 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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