Officer on desk after violent arrest of man ‘trying to help’

By on September 21, 2017


“Our police officers are trained to de-escalate situations,” Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for deviation to that standard.” (Photo By claramichelle, CC BY-SA 2.0)
“Our police officers are trained to de-escalate situations,” Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for deviation to that standard.” (Photo By claramichelle, CC BY-SA 2.0)

PITTSBURGH — One of five police officers involved in a violent arrest recorded by a bystander and posted online has been assigned to desk duty, and the man he punched during the arrest says he was just trying to help police make another arrest.

Officer Andrew Jacobs will be on desk duty until the city and the district attorney complete reviews of Tuesday’s arrest of Daniel Adelman, the mayor announced Wednesday.

“Our police officers are trained to de-escalate situations,” Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for deviation to that standard.”

The other officers involved are working normally.

Jacobs is the officer seen punching Adelman, of Ravenna, Ohio, and telling him to “Stop resisting” during the 52-second video clip . Police say Adelman interfered when officers tried to arrest another man outside PPG Paints Arena on a forgery warrant. Adelman, seen on the video repeatedly saying, “I’m trying to help you,” has been charged with obstructing administration of law, resisting arrest and public drunkenness.

Adelman, who spoke with KDKA-TV as he left jail Wednesday, acknowledged he’d been drinking before he stepped outside to smoke during a Roger Waters concert at the arena. But he insisted he tried to help police, not hinder them, when he saw them scuffling with the other man.

“I was smoking a cigarette and I see an officer with a suit on and then I see this other guy and I thought the officer in the suit was in trouble,” Adelman told KDKA. “So I went down there and, you know, and then all hell broke loose.”

Adelman said he “did take a beating,” and his family said he was later treated at the Cleveland Clinic for a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder and a possible concussion. He said he’s not sure he would have rushed into the scene had he not been drinking.

“In the end, it was probably not the right situation to jump in without knowing the situation,” he said.

Adelman was only trying to help and didn’t intend to resist arrest or obstruct law enforcement, his attorney, Phil DiLucente, said Thursday.

In a criminal complaint, Jacobs wrote that Adelman “took a fighting stance” and the officer said he feared Adelman was going to attack so “I struck the male in the face to halt his attacking and advancing nature.”

Jacobs acknowledged punching Adelman three to five times in the face and four to seven times in the rib cage to get him to lie down and be handcuffed, according to the complaint. The city’s police union and its officers are not permitted to comment publicly during an internal review.

Police Chief Scott Schubert said the internal findings will be publicized when completed. The chief and the district attorney said police use of force is routinely reviewed. The city’s Office of Municipal Investigations, which fields complaints of police misconduct, and its Citizen Police Review Board, which is independent and can only recommend discipline, also are investigating.

Review board executive director Elizabeth Pittinger said the foul language used by police during the arrest will colour the public’s perception of it even if the reviews determine the force was justified.