PITTSBURGH — A rookie Pittsburgh Police officer has been fired following an argument with a Swissvale officer that happened in October while he was off-duty.
The encounter between probationary Officer Sidney Bates and the Swissvale officer took place on Oct. 18 on Milligan Avenue, just blocks from the Swissvale Police Station.
Bates’ brother Laimon says he, his girlfriend and Sidney pulled up in front of their Swissvale home and were unable to find parking, so they stopped in the road for a few minutes to get groceries out of the car.
That’s when the Swissvale Police officer pulled up and asked to see Bates’ identification. Bates allegedly refused to hand over his ID. Laimon began recording the encounter and posted the video to social media.
Laimon: “What did he do?”
Swissvale Officer: “He stopped in the middle of the roadway, and she was stopped in the middle of the roadway.”
Laimon: “He wasn’t even in the car. It was her.”
Swissvale Officer: “She was parked right here, and he’s parked right here.”
Laimon: “Now he is because you stopped him. You [bleeped] him, you [bleeped] him.”
Swissvale Officer: “He’s parked right here, I told him to move.”
Bates, who was sworn in as an officer last spring, was placed on probation while an internal investigation reviewed the incident.
Blaine Jones, who is representing Bates, says on Friday night, Bates received a call telling him to turn in his badge. Bates also received a letter Saturday informing him of his termination.
“The events from that cell phone footage, does that really warrant a termination? He was cited with a non-traffic summary offense, so whoever’s out there doing whatever it is in their job, they get a summary offense for a disorderly conduct, should they be fired?” Jones said. “Now listen, I understand he has a badge and there’s a higher standard, but even with that, shouldn’t he be afforded due process?”