Jeff Desimone: Pennsylvania police chief yells at Black pregnant woman with sick child in video
The police chief of Homestead, Pennsylvania, is facing heat after a video went viral of him yelling at a pregnant woman waiting in the drive-thru of a local Giant Eagle pharmacy. While people of the community called for his permanent termination from the force, he has only been suspended without pay for three days on Thursday, August 19.
The community outrage against Police Chief Jeff Desimone happened after he was seen in the clip shouting at Kahmahlai Stewart, who was picking up medication for her sick child, heard coughing in the back seat of her car. She said that Desimone, who was not wearing his uniform and was in an unmarked vehicle put on his lights to get her to leave on a day when the pharmacy was really slow. She declined to do so. The incident caught the attention of the local officials, which prompted them to call a council meeting to discuss calls for the chief's resignation. Desimone was unable to attend the meeting as he was on vacation. On Thursday night, Desimone was suspended without pay for three days. Some of the other law enforcement agents who made news recently include Jason Raynor, Brent Chitwood, Melissa McFadden and Ella French.
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What happened in the video?
The video recorded by Stewart with the help of her phone shows a tense argument between Desimone and Stewart who was waiting at the Giant Eagle pharmacy drive-thru in the Waterfront. In the video, the police chief, who was parked behind Stewart, could be heard yelling at her to move her car from the drive-thru window because it was taking too long to get her prescription. At one point in the video, the chief also called other officers, who showed up at the Giant Eagle.
After Desimone put on his police lights, Stewart, who was several months pregnant, with a sick child in the back seat, said that she did not see the lights but instead, started recording the encounter. She told Channel 11 that the clerk at the pharmacy told her that the prescription would be a few minutes, but ended up taking longer. And as a result, she continued to wait at the window. After she refused to move from the spot, the video shows that the chief continued to yell at Stewart and the employees. After that, he called the officers to the drive-thru. “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,” explained Stewart.
Who is Jeffrey Desimone?
According to Jeffrey Desimone's LinkedIn profile, he has been associated with law enforcement for the last 30 years. Out of those, he spent eight years as a Homestead K-9 officer. He finished his training at IUP Police Academy. He has been described by Jonathan Stewart, the owner of Stewart, Murray & Associates Law Group, as "Bright, energetic and goal-oriented with a very progressive attitude and way of thinking. A team player that doesn't just look at today and tomorrow but towards next year and so on."
Kahmahlai Stewart accused Desimone of harassing and intimidating her. However, the chief denied the allegations and insisted that the whole thing was being blown out of proportion. On Thursday, Desimone talked with the local news station, saying that the incident was a “little dispute”, and that all he wanted was for Kahmahlai to pull over and wait, so he could pull up and get his prescription. However, Kahmahlai Stewart did not see it that way.
“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,” explained Kahmahlai. She has hired an attorney to review the video and is asking the chief to step down and at least, an apology.