Fired Pittsburgh police officer plans to sue city, detective
The attorney for a fired Pittsburgh police officer said Wednesday he plans to sue the city and a police detective for malicious prosecution, claiming the detective lied in court.
Robert Kramer, 29, was fired in 2017 following an incident in which he was accused of pointing a silver revolver at another driver. He was found not guilty of the charges, and his attorney, Noah Geary, said another Pittsburgh police officer, Det. Ed Green, perjured himself. Geary said an investigation by the city’s Office of Municipal Investigations supports his claim.
“I don’t know what’s going on precisely behind the scenes here,” Geary said. “Kramer gets fired – he’s fired before there’s even a preliminary hearing. He’s a police officer, and how does the presumption of innocence not apply to him?”
Police Chief Scott Schubert declined comment.
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said the OMI process is not complete, and Schubert will have an opportunity to ask questions of OMI and will have the final say on what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken.
The other driver, Jesse Smith, had told investigators that he was driving his white Dodge SUV when the driver of a black Mercedes, later identified as Kramer, pulled up beside him and began arguing about speeding and erratic driving, according to the original criminal complaint. Smith said Kramer then pointed a silver revolver at him.
Kramer denied the allegation, saying he had a silver cellphone in his hand. Geary said his client was on his way to a doctor’s appointment.
The original complaint said Kramer told investigators he did not own a silver revolver, but sales records showed he bought stainless steel Smith & Wesson in 2013. Investigators said a search warrant turned up the gun in Kramer’s garage rafters.
Geary said that’s a lie.
“There’s no rafters, there’s no gun stashed anywhere,” he said.
Kramer later filed a number of complaints against Green with the Office of Municipal Investigations, and a letter sent to Kramer dated Jan. 29 indicated that some complaints had been sustained.
Green was found to have violated policy for preparing a photo array, according to the report, as the photo of Kramer that Green used was of a different background color than the rest of the photos in the array.
Kramer also alleged that Green perjured himself on the witness stand during the criminal trial proceedings against Kramer, according to the report. Investigators noted in the report that the office investigates policy violations, not criminal acts.
“While we could not make a determination as to Det. Green’s testimony under oath, he did provide different versions as to certain facts as it specifically related to the notification of and execution of the search warrant at your home,” the report said.
For that, the report said, Green was found to be in violation of a bureau code relating to truthfulness.
Additionally, Geary has filed a private criminal complaint alleging perjury against Green with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.
The complaint draws on testimony from Kramer’s trial in which Green told prosecutors that when they arrived at Kramer’s home, Kramer went into the home through the garage door and “he reached in over the duct work … (and) pulled out a holster that held the Smith & Wesson revolver.”
Geary included pieces of the court transcript with the complaint, and alleged another officer’s testimony contradicted Green’s.
He said the other officer, Sgt. Ronald Viskovicz, “testified and states without hesitation that on the day in question (Kramer) entered his residence through the front door and then exited through the garage,” according to the complaint.
A spokesman for the District Attorney’s office said no decision has been made regarding the complaint.
Geary said he plans to resubmit the private criminal complaint with the OMI report as supplemental evidence.
“We would like Green charged with perjury, and he should be charged with perjury,” he said. “We’re going to sue Green, and he should be sued. We’re going to sue the City of Pittsburgh for these bogus charges.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.