A Pittsburgh police officer fired last year in connection with an alleged road rage incident sued the city on Thursday, claiming malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence and racial discrimination.
Robert Kramer was charged in 2017 with pointing a gun at another motorist while off duty. An Allegheny County jury last year acquitted him of a charge of simple assault. An arbitration panel in March ordered the city to reinstate Kramer with retroactive pay.
The city is appealing the arbitration ruling.
Kramer said he could never bring himself to return to work.
“I was falsely accused of crimes by members of my own department who knew that I was innocent,” Kramer said, reading a statement at the office of his Downtown attorney, Joel Sansone. “A jury of my peers declared me innocent. An arbitrator found that I was fired unfairly, and yet my career as a police officer is over because I can’t function safely after all that has been said and done.”
Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri declined comment, citing the pending litigation.
The lawsuit contends that Kramer’s firing was based on allegations from a known criminal who expressed hatred toward police in a social media posting and the lies of a detective, Ed Green, who investigated the matter. Kramer was also accused of lying when questioned about a gun he owned and allegedly displayed during the incident in question.
In addition to the federal lawsuit, Kramer filed discrimination complaints against the city with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. He contends that police Chief Scott Schubert fired him for allegedly lying, but took no action against Green. Kramer denied that he lied about the gun.
“Mr. Green was found by the department to have told untruths,” Sansone said. “He lied under oath. The only difference between Mr. Green, who was not fired, and Bob Kramer, who was, is that Bob Kramer is white and Edward Green is black.”
The 22-page lawsuit names Schubert, Mayor Bill Peduto, Green, retired police Cmdr. Shirley Epperson and unnamed upper management within the Pittsburgh Police Bureau as defendants.
The suit accuses Peduto of slandering Kramer in previous public comments he made about the case.
Peduto declined comment, citing the pending litigation.
“Obviously he’s using the comments I made to the press as his case, so I’m going to have to wait until after this has been able to go through a fair trial before I’m going to be able to comment on anything involving Mr. Kramer,” Peduto said.