In the flurry of activity I had over the weekend, I missed this story, which can be pieced together from the P-G and the Trib:
An off-duty Pittsburgh police officer was arrested and suspended from the force yesterday after investigators say he assaulted a man in the head with his service weapon and wounded the individual in the hand as the gun discharged...
Paul Abel, 34, an eight-year police veteran stationed in the city's Zone 3 police station, is charged with aggravated assault and two counts of driving under the influence. Abel is accused of assaulting Kaleb Michael Miller, 20, of Sidney Street. Miller was shot in the right hand and was treated at UPMC Mercy hospital, Uptown... The assault occurred at the intersection of Sidney and South 20th streets in the South Side at 2:11 a.m., according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by police to support the criminal charges...
Chief Harper said the officer and his wife were patrons at the Town Tavern earlier and had driven away in their car when it was approached at a stop light by two unknown men. The officer apparently rolled down his window and for reasons unknown, one of the men punched him, the chief said...
A witness, William Detweiler, whose address was not given, told investigators he was at the corner of South 20th and Carson streets when he saw two men at the window of Abel's silver Jetta. They appeared to be arguing, according to the affidavit. Abel was trying to open his door when a black male pushed it shut. After the officer rolled down his window, a white man started to punch Abel in the face, police said...
The two men fled. Abel got out of his car, opened the hatch and pulled out his service revolver, Harper said.
He tried to follow the two men, but returned to his car. As Abel drove away, Detweiler heard him use an obscenity and say he would "get" someone, the affidavit stated.
At the corner of South 20th and Sidney Streets, Detweiler saw Abel get out of his car and wave his gun in the face of Miller, who was not involved in the earlier altercation, the affidavit states. Miller stood with his hands in the air as Abel told him to get to the ground, hitting Miller in the head several times with the butt of his gun, the affidavit states...
The pedestrian's clothing description did not match that of the men who earlier approached the car, and police were investigating why he was singled out.
"The gentleman who was in the physical altercation [with the officer] is an innocent victim as far as we can tell," Chief Harper said. "He was just walking."
After the shooting, Abel was taken to police headquarters, where, to those questioning him, he appeared to be intoxicated, police said. His blood-alcohol reading was 0.111 percent, police said. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Officer Abel is from a family of policemen. His father, Paul Abel Sr., is a sergeant with the Scott Police Department, and his brother, Matthew, is a fellow member of the Pittsburgh force.
The two brothers were among officers who were involved in the violent arrest of a man at a birthday party in Mount Oliver in 2002.
The man, Charles Dixon, 43, of Altoona, died of positional asphyxia Dec. 23, 2002, two days after several officers had pinned him face down to the floor. Mr. Dixon's family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which was settled with Mount Oliver in 2003...Last year, Abel and his brother-in-law were involved in a fight inside the Allegheny County Courthouse. The men were waiting to testify in a trial involving an assault on Abel's wife. The brother-in-law, Muhamid Thorton, known as Desmond Thornton, of Carrick was convicted of disorderly conduct.
HOLY SHIT! Basically, what these articles tell me is that had I been wandering around the South Side at 2 AM, as I am wont to do, I could have been jacked up by a drunk, off duty police officer. I have enough to worry about: "where's my credit card," "where did I park," "didn't I come here with another person?" I want to be worried that supposed officers of the law are going to ambush me, pistol whip me, and shoot me in the hand for no fucking reason.
But I need to ask what's going on in Abel's head?
Dammit! I lost the guy that assaulted me. Well, I might as well beat up this guy instead since he's here.
That's just messed up. I mean, honestly. What. The. Fuck?