A Pittsburgh police lieutenant's daughter yesterday decided to drop a complaint in which the officer was charged with simple assault in a domestic incident in April.
Charles Rodriguez, recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant amid protests from activists against violence and agencies that support victims, left the hearing without comment.
"I was prepared to defend my client, but now we don't have to address that because there are no charges pending against him," defense attorney Lee Rothman, who represents Lt. Rodriguez, said outside the office of District Judge Dennis Joyce in Crafton. "They've been withdrawn, and he can get on with his life.
"It's not a case. That's my characterization of it. It's not a criminal act."
Lt. Rodriguez, 44, had been charged with simple assault after discipline of his teenage daughter, Alicia, became physical April 29 at the Ingram home the girl shares with her mother, Renita Stafford, 39..
According to the criminal complaint filed against the officer, he went to the Evans Avenue home after reports the girl had been skipping school, sneaking out of the house and staying out all night.
He told Ingram officers that he went to the residence because of his daughter's increasing defiance.
Lt. Rodriguez said in the complaint that his daughter became disrespectful toward him, and he admitted that he slapped her with an open hand.
Police said the girl suffered a cut lip, and she complained of pain in her stomach or rib area. That part of her body was not bruised, the complaint said.
Ingram police officers at the house noticed "redness and minor swelling" to the girl's lip and left cheek.
The girl was evaluated by caseworkers from Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families, and police advised Ms. Stafford to seek medical attention for her daughter because she was complaining of stomach pain.
As yesterday's hearing was to begin, Assistant District Attorney Michael Berquist approached the bench to announce that the mother and daughter wished to drop the charge.
Neither the prosecutor, nor the mother and daughter commented after Judge Joyce granted Mr. Berquist's request to withdraw the charge.
Lt. Rodriguez is one of three recently promoted city police officers who have faced domestic abuse accusations, drawing criticism from women's groups and others.
Police Chief Nathan Harper and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have stood behind the promotions of Lt. Rodriguez and the other two who were promoted, Cmdr. George Trosky and Sgt. Eugene F. Hlavac.
In 1997 a case against Cmdr. Trosky was dismissed. There have been two domestic calls involving Sgt. Hlavac this year at his apartment.
Jim McKinnon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1939.