RPD internal investigation: Investigator involved in EMT arrest at hospital violated regulations

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Police Investigator seen on camera pushing an EMT up against the registration desk inside Strong Hospital and cuffing her while she had a patient on the stretcher, has been found to have violated at least one of the Rochester Police Department Rules and Regulations.

In a statement to News10NBC Investigative Reporter, a spokesman for the Department says, “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.”

News10NBC first broke this story with exclusive video of part of the incident from inside the emergency department at Strong Memorial Hospital. Monroe Ambulance EMT Lekia Smith opened the door of the ambulance she was driving into the door of the unmarked police car RPD Investigator Charles LoTiempo was sitting in, in the ambulance bay.  According to witnesses, LoTiempo asked for her identification, Smith told him she would provide it after she got her patient inside and checked in. 

“Next thing I know she’s trying to walk this way and he comes up grabs her and is like holding her under arrest and she’s like “sir, I have a patient” and I’m like I can’t take this guy by myself and he lets her bring him in to the hospital with me and then I didn’t hear everything that was being said and asked because I was on the phone calling operations,” Smith’s partner told investigating officers following the altercation inside the emergency room, “from what I heard, it sounds like she said she would work with him after we got him off the stretcher and the next thing you know, he goes to the sub waiting room, talks to somebody and comes back and says she’s under arrest and slams her into the registration desk then she’s in cuffs and out the door,” she added.

Video from body-worn cameras on responding officers shows Smith was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car where she sat for more than 20 minutes while supervisors from Monroe Ambulance arrived on-scene.  At one point, LoTiempo gets in the back seat with her to discuss the incident. Eventually, she is released.  Smith was never charged. 

Investigator LoTiempo has 10 days to decide whether to plead guilty to the violations cited in the internal investigation.  If he pleads not-guilty, his case will be heard by a hearing officer.  He will continue to be suspended with pay until a decision is made or reached.