I can’t– I don’t– BLLLLLLL.

Chain of events:

  • City cop, with a history of aggressiveness and questionable behavior, gets drunk on the South Side while off duty. His behaviors that required citizen board review prior to this night included violent altercations and pressuring his wife to file false sexual abuse claims against the grandparents of her children.
  • Drunk city cop claims man assaulted him.
  • After pistol whipping innocent man, shoving his gun into the eye socket of the innocent man, and shooting the innocent man in the hand, cop sits on sidewalk and twirls his pistol on his finger like he’s Yosemite Sam.
  • It is determined that the cop was never assaulted by innocent man.
  • Cop gets suspended.
  • Man, who now has bullet fragments in his hand, files lawsuit against City of Pittsburgh.

So far, this story is following the exact path I would expect it to.  Like a movie script.

Until this line. This line here is the part in the story where my brain goes KABLOOEY, my eyelids go BLLLLLLLLL and my mouth goes, “WTF?”  This is the part in Sixth Sense where you realize Bruce Willis is dead. This is the part in The Others when you realize they’re all ghosts. The part in Toy Story 3 when you realize that Lotso Bear is evil.

Officer Abel was suspended but returned to his job a year later after an arbitrator ruled in his favor.


This is an automatically generated message informing you that Virginia cannot finish this post due to the fact that her brain just exploded knowing that such a violent offender is still on the force and being paid to serve and protect the people of Pittsburgh. She also muttered something about God help us all and somebody kill all the pigeons for me.


  1. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    January 4, 2011 3:01 pm

    The vast majority of arbitration cases usually result in the reinstatement of the offending officer. Prior to 2003 or 2004 (I can’t remember which year), the law even allowed an officer who had been convicted of certain crimes which would disqualify the officer from being able to possess a handgun if a civilian, to remain a police officer. That loophole has since been closed.

  2. Beatrice
    January 4, 2011 3:14 pm

    That is awful.

  3. Erin
    January 4, 2011 3:21 pm

    Someone explain to me how “off-duty” works. You’re still allowed to carry your loaded weapon? Even if drinking alcohol?

  4. MadMadMad
    January 4, 2011 3:25 pm

    As the PG article concludes: “After the ruling, city officials said they feared their inability to terminate officers who use excessive force would erode public trust.”

    YA THINK????

  5. mitch
    January 4, 2011 3:39 pm

    if the internet has done anything to me, it has made me begin to expect these kinds of outcomes.

    tell me again why i was fired upon with the LRAD at the G-20?

  6. Annie
    January 4, 2011 4:06 pm

    That’s disgusting.

  7. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    January 4, 2011 4:11 pm

    In most jurisdictions, even when a police officer is “off-duty” (i.e., off the clock), they are never really off-duty. Thus, they are permitted to carry their service weapon 24/7. Many police officers also have civilian permits to carry. Anyone who has a carry permit can carry their weapon 24/7. Common sense though, regardless of whether you are a police officer or regular Joe, would suggest that neither person be carrying a weapon when intoxicated. However, we all know that common sense and intoxication lead to extremely bizarre and non-sensical situations.

  8. gunnlino
    January 4, 2011 4:20 pm

    The “Old Boy” network that is Western PA gov’t has let the unions run most everything the way they want. Fire a dirty cop for something that anyone else would go to jail for and you run the risk of not getting re-elected or reappointed or your fat cousin won’t get that city contract for paving.
    Sad state of affairs .

  9. mindymin
    January 4, 2011 4:49 pm

    His Dad is a cop, if I am not mistaken in Pgh or Collier, but I think hes retired now. He was a waiter at Dennys in Greentree who went to school at CV, friend of a friend of a friend kinda thing. It took him FOREVER to get even accepted into the academy because he is far from the brightest bulb in the bunch. If you do a little research you can find that Mr Abel has been busted & its been covered up a lot over the course of his years. Seriously this guy is such a effing asshole it is unreal. I cannot even believe that he keeps getting away with this crap, but he & his daddy have enough friends in high places apparently that he can continue to be such an inappropriate, aggressive and violent human being. Hes one of those guys that thinks hes a God because hes a cop & the reason that there are many people who fear the police. He gives all cops a bad name. Period.

  10. Nathan Harper
    January 4, 2011 6:50 pm

    Since that incident, Paul Abel has arrested a firefighter for DUI and was involved in an arrest where drug evidence was planted and money evidence disappeared.

  11. BeauJacques
    January 4, 2011 7:03 pm

    <You left out the BEST part:

    He left the bar DRUNK, was driving DRUNK,
    and the officers on the scene, including supervisors, waited KNOWINGLY past the “within 2 hours” requirement to administer a breathalyzer it would then be inadmissible.

    If he had been convicted of the DUI he could have been fired, regardless of the Police Union and arbitration!!!!

  12. BeauJacques
    January 4, 2011 7:07 pm

    Oh, and he got FULL PAY for all his time on suspension.

    D D D D Duhhhhhh

  13. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    January 4, 2011 8:51 pm

    Sadly, this type of thing is not exclusive to western PA law enforcement. It happens all over the state — pretty much every state.

  14. Legally Pittsburgh (Kathy)
    January 4, 2011 11:14 pm

    As someone else has referenced, just search Paul Abel’s name on the P-G and see how famous (or infamous) this guy is. There are plenty of hardworking honest poice officers in town (I happen to be married to one!) but this guy should not be on the force or carrying a gun.

  15. Pa-pop
    January 4, 2011 11:39 pm

    I would like to see the complaint filed by Mr. Miller. I’m wondering why this is being settled for $40K. That figure may represent legitimate damages and may be a “windfall” for the plaintiff (Miller), but I’m thinking that if this went to trial, he could win punitive damages in a minimum of seven figures. And if indeed a significant amount of punitive damages were awarded, it would very likely create a significant sea change in police department policy.

    I would also like to think that Officer Able has some personal liability at stake here. Based on what was printed in the PG, he could and should be broke for the rest of his life.

  16. ErinPatricia
    January 4, 2011 11:57 pm

    thats disgusting, what some people can get away with.

  17. BeauJacques
    January 5, 2011 1:55 am

    No, what’s disgusting was the COMPLETE obstruction orchestrated by Abel’s fellow officers and supervisors to
    purposely allow him to escape the DUI charge by waiting just long enough (over 2 hours) to breathalyze him when they ALL WERE PERFECTLY AWARE that doing so would get him a pass on the DUI-

    the charge they KNEW could get him fired!!!!

    So much for “one bad apple” idea and similar horseshit!!

    Pgh PD is corrupt, self-serving, ineffectual- i.e.: the Northside shootout at a huge ongoing pot warehouse, one block from Zone 1, and they’re overpaid, AND

    TA DA-

    the source of our underfunded gilded public pension woes!

  18. Butcher's Dog
    January 5, 2011 9:52 am

    Back when unions were guilds, they were responsible for having their members maintain high standards of work/conduct. At least that’s what we’re taught. Lacking a time machine to go back and check on that, let’s take it for truth. And let’s see if we can get back to that with today’s unions, especially the public ones. As a retired public school teacher I would support that movement. Most public union members do far more good than harm. It bothers me that we can’t/won’t weed out the bad apples.

  19. Carol
    January 5, 2011 10:48 am

    The victim filed a suit against the city…ok,sure, I can understand that. But why did’nt he press charges? Are cops immune?

  20. BeauJacques
    January 5, 2011 11:25 am


    I presume you’re a blonde.

    Did you actuallyread any of this??

    Law 101, the DA (that’s district attorney) files criminal charges
    on behalf of the Commonwealth, that’s us,) he did!

    According to the powerless Citizen Review Board boss the charge that REALLY MATTERED was the DUI!

    Everything hinged on his intoxication, and his buddies, the
    Pgh PD did exactly what they KNEW would let him slide- they waited too long, on purpose, to administer a breathalyzer!!

    This is after he admitted having 8+ shots and beers at the City Tavern!

    You can bet your blonde ass they watch the clock ticking when anyone ELSE is deserving a BAC (that’s blood alcohol content) for a case!

    They let Abel sit on the sidewalk for 3 hours.

    Supposedly the sergeant and lieutenant who oversaw this (arguably a subsequent separate crime) blatant non-action were ” ‘supposedly’ chastised.”

    The DA wanted him fired, the Chief wanted him fired.

    We get the highest paid cops (cost of living factored in) PD
    in the country, and they can’t find anything but a fat paycheck.

  21. Out of town
    January 5, 2011 11:33 am

    Sounds like Pgh cops are following in the same vain as the corrupt as hell, dog shooting, student beating Prince Georges county cops down here.

  22. Lisa
    January 5, 2011 11:59 am

    THIS is sick. He should never be able to carry a gun again, let alone be paid to.

  23. JennyMoon
    January 5, 2011 12:43 pm

    And he’s back! You were missed.

  24. toni
    January 5, 2011 1:04 pm

    Bring back the federal oversight board. We have corrupt firefighter and police forces and unions who protect them.

    Anybody remember the 3 drunk fireman who entered an man’s home on the Southside and beat him up? Slap on the wrist, job reinstated, doing community service with a facility that GRANDMA’s in charge of.

    Not that Zappala’s much better. His fathers a retired judge serving on the casino board. His brother Gary, while not found in any wrong doing, was in charge of facilities that youths were incorrectly sent to in the Luzerne corruption scandal.

    The corruption is city wide and stinks to heaven. On top of it all we have Lukey for a Mayor. We’re all going to hell in a handbasket.

  25. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    January 5, 2011 1:29 pm

    The corruptions is statewide.

  26. Scott
    January 5, 2011 2:07 pm

    And of course no comment by the Boy Wonder Mayor on this because he doesn’t want to lose the union endorsement. Nothing like being above the law. And why doesn’t the local media have this as front page news and all over the evening news to create public outcry that it deserves? Oh yeah…Ben’s alleged engagement is more important.

  27. Carol
    January 5, 2011 2:07 pm


    No, I’m not blonde, sorry to disappoint you when it seemed such an obvious assumption. I skimmed thru Ginny’s post and saw only the lawsuit mentioned.
    My only excuse is a lack of coffee and the fact that my internet phobia inhibits my clicking links.

  28. John Franco
    January 5, 2011 2:50 pm

    Wow… normally I would say that it’s a shame to see one bad apple give the rest of the police force a bad name.

    But in this case it appears that the whole organization deserves the bad name, and still can’t get one.

  29. BeauJacques
    January 5, 2011 3:41 pm



    Ginny’s links are beyond reproach!!

    Also, tip, any link anywhere, you can right-click it, copy it, view it first.

  30. Bram R
    January 6, 2011 8:02 am

    Ginny, you realize there is a show soon to be broadcast called “The Cape” in which Summer Glau (!) plays a blogger that rails against the Palm City police and corrupt politicians and kicks things and people as necessary.