Saturday, April 23, 2005

Albany Police Update

Yesterday during the Mayor's radio show he really caught some heat for the Albany Police department's behavior over the last 18 months. People talked about the Scaringe shooting, they talked about how a bank robber tried to turn himself in at the station and was told to go away. They mentioned the cop that was drunk (off-duty) and crashed his car into a building and set the building on fire. They didn't like the fact that all this cop got was a $300 fine. They also mentioned that the police chief recently conducted an illegal operation and then admitted to lying to cover it up. No one even mentioned the federal audit that was highly critical of the way cash was handled by the PD.

And then there is the latest news of a 14 year old girl that is most likely going to be suing the city because she said that an officer punched her in the face. And just to be clear, the police admit that this happened:

"He then punched her in the face, hit her in the right side of the eye. She was then arrested, brought to the hospital for treatment," said Detective James Miller, Albany Police Department."

Now to be fair, the police say she kicked him in the groin before he punched her in the face. Now imagine this was anyone but a police officer, say a angry father at a sporting event where things got out of hand or just a guy on the street? What would we think of a man that had to resort to punching a 14 year old girl in the face? I know what I'd think. And I'm pretty sure they would be arrested. And they should be.

So during the radio show people were pissed off. And the Mayor lashed out at them and generally conducted business as usual and not once condemned the behavior of an officer that has admitted to punching a girl in the face.

Good thing none of those callers knew that while they were calling, an Albany police officer was sobering up after having crashed his car and then refused to take a breath test. That might have really put them over the edge. This police officer did not crash his car into a building and set the building on fire. So, he probably will just get $150 fine.

If I were running for Mayor or Common Council I think having a real Police Acountabilty Review board with the ability to issue subpoenas (legal ones) might now be my top campaign issue.