CLEVELAND — An RTA police officer has been disciplined and ordered to undergo de-escalation training for shoving a man and causing him to fall onto the tracks at the Brookpark Rapid Station during a confrontation back in February.
Earlier this month, RTA officials issued the officer, Patrick Rivera, a Decision Marking Leave (DML) for "using an inappropriate technique while engaging a male at the Brookpark Rapid Station on Feb. 16."
A DML is the final level of formal discipline in RTA's Positive Discipline Program, according to RTA. The officer has made a formal commitment to adhering to RTA's policies, the organization said. Rivera could face termination for any further infractions that lead to formal disciplinary measures.
According to RTA, Rivera's actions led to the man falling on the track level -- a moment that was captured on video. The man was unhurt in the incident and refused medical attention.
Rivera wrote in his report that on Feb. 16, he was dispatched to the rapid station for a man in the lobby who had his belongings scattered about and refused to pick them up. The officer told the man that he needed to pick up his stuff so a custodian could clean the area.
According to Rivera, the man later became aggressive on the train platform and called him a racial slur and a "rent-a-cop." Rivera wrote in his report that the man threatened to shoot him and throw him on the tracks when a train passed by. The report states that the man "lunged" at the officer, and Rivera warned him multiple times to calm down. When the man "lunged" at Rivera again, the officer pushed the man, and he fell onto the track level. The man got up and walked to the gate where the officer took him into custody. He was cited for disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
In the video, the man is seen making sudden movements towards the officer. At the moment the man turns away, the officer shoves him, causing him to fall off the platform.
RTA states that when the incident happened, Rivera didn't attempt to render first aid or detain the man, which is a violation of of the RTA employee code.
As a result, Rivera has been ordered to undergo additional training consisting of the following:
- Attending a 40-hour crisis intervention training program
- Attending a day of deescalation and judgmental simulator training
In a letter sent to the officer on April 5, RTA acting Chief of Police Michael Gettings wrote, "I am confident that you will be able to correct your behavior and become a productive member of the RTA team."
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