Paul Abel, the angry Pittsburgh cop filmed arresting a man who criticized his "Thin Blue Line" facemask, is notorious for his long history of brutalizing locals and the department's unwillingness or inability to fire him.
The story, this time around, is that Officer Abel didn't like it being pointed out that he's wearing a defaced American flag on his face. Daniel Holc, 22, was threatened with a taser, then arrested for "failing to disperse" and later charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.
One wonders why Abel's so upset at Holc's question, given that no-one has the power or gumption to stop Abel doing whatever he wants. (Check out the one-sided agreement Pittsburgh has with the Fraternal Order of Police for a simple reason why.)
With Abel, through, anger never seems far from the surface. As long ago as 2008, local media mused over his "debacle-filled past" and reported that he was nicknamed "Pit Bull" by his colleagues, one of whom was quoted describing "his tendency to knock the [expletive] out of people."
That year, Abel pistol-whipped a man and shot him in the hand, leading to a $45,000 settlement.
Abel was charged with drunken driving, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, but let off the hook in a non-jury trial.
In 2017, an off-duty Abel got into a bar fight with a former Steeler. The Steeler, an assistant coach with the team, was fined $300.
It gets weirder. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Abel "has been accused of pressuring his wife to make false allegations of sexual abuse against the grandparents of her children" as part of a custody battle, and that one of the grandparents claimed he made a threatening remark.
"He's like a bomb waiting to go off," the grandmother told the Post-Gazette, in that story, which details some of the various other complaints made about Abel.
Another man accused Abel of beating him up at his own home.
Abel once got into a fistfight with his own brother-in-law in the Allegheny County Courthouse; the brother-in-law was arrested and jailed for two months.
Abel was reportedly paid $145k a year by 2012. Though he is no longer listed among the city's top earners in an official statement, a spreadsheet of Pittsburgh public salaries publicized online claims he took home $156k last year, more than Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
Settlements don't come out of his pocket, though, or even the police department's. They're paid for by the city of Pittsburgh, which expects to have a budget shortfall of $100m next year. But hey, what's another six figures on the pile?