Homestead, PA – The Homestead chief of police has been suspended for three days without pay following an altercation with a pregnant woman at a pharmacy drive-thru.
The incident occurred when Homestead Police Chief Jeff Desimone was in line at the Giant Eagle pharmacy drive thru at the Waterfront, WTAE reported.
Kamahlai Stewart, who was pregnant and had a sick child with her in the car, said she was ahead of Chief Desimone and waiting for a prescription that the pharmacist had advised would take a few minutes to fill.
Stewart said that she didn’t realize the man behind her was Chief Desimone when he first approached her and told her to move her car, WTAE reported.
The police chief was not in uniform at the time.
She said he wanted her to pull out and go around so that he could pick up a prescription while she waited, WTAE reported.
“Who are you to tell me to tell me I need to move? [To] go back around and get behind you, and wait again when I was here first? For you to pull up and turn your lights on and intimidate me, that’s unacceptable,” Stewart told WPXI.
She said she started filming with her cell phone when the police chief started yelling at her.
“He originally turned his lights on and got out of the car the first time and cursed me out,” Stewart told WTAE. “And I was like, ‘oh no I don’t feel safe now, so I need to get my phone out and record this guy because I don’t know what he’s capable of or what he’s going to do.'”
Chief Desimone called other officers to the scene.
Stewart commended the officers who responded to the chief’s call for backup at the Giant Eagle pharmacy drive-thru, WTAE reported.
“The police, the men that pulled up, they were good officers and they handled it in such a smooth way,” she said.
But Stewart was furious about her confrontation with Chief Desimone, WTAE reported.
“It was absolutely unnecessary stress for myself, my unborn child. At the time he was balling up, I had my 5-year-old in the back. He’s coughing,” she said.
Stewart said she wanted the police chief to resign or, at the very least, apologize to her, WPXI reported.
“What were you thinking to put myself, my unborn child and my 5-year-old ill son in danger like this?” she asked. “I was shocked, appalled. I can’t believe you, of all people—you’re the chief of police—for you to turn on your lights and try to intimidate me was totally an abuse of power.”
The borough council held a meeting on Aug. 19 to discuss the matter, Newsweek reported.
Several black residents appeared before the council to request the chief be fired rather than suspended and accused him of having a pattern of bad behavior.
But the borough council voted to suspend Chief Desimone, without pay, for three days, for his actions, Newsweek reported.