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Monday, March 23, 2009

Mayor Considers Martial Law Over Police Corruption; Courts?

Schenectady mayor considers options, martial law over police woes
Capital News 9 by Steve Ference - March 19, 2009

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires said, "This is unprecedented - all these officers getting in trouble at the same time for all these different reasons. Five Schenectady police officers recently accused of everything from driving drunk to beating up a man are leading city officials to look at taking drastic action to fix a department tainted by the few who may have acted illegally, like Darren Lawrence and Michael Brown who are accused of driving while intoxicated. Chief Chaires said, "Those two officers, we're definitely going to seek termination, and we're not ruling it out with any of the officers who are out there. Police Chief Mark Chaires told us you basically have to fire yourself - essentially a million dollar fine in lost benefits over a lifetime. Still, Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton said, "We believe there are five officers now who could face possible termination." But it's not just the threat of termination. Mayor Stratton told us he's looking at all options, including disbanding the police department - basically starting over. "It's something we're certainly looking into. I think the public has had it up to here," said the mayor. Currently, officials are reviewing the legal options and planning to present a full report in early April - options like a consolidated county-wide police force or bringing in the State Police.

The mayor said there is another option - and that would be declaring martial law. The governor would have to declare it and then the National Guard would come in. The mayor said it's more for a transition to a new police force if that were to happen. He said, "It may be that as a stopgap measure, that you would need military forces - State Police, National Guard." Mayor Stratton said the temporary measure would last until the new police force took over. Schenectady's Corporation Counsel John Van Norden said, "If you abolish the police department you still have a need - not an obligation - but a need to police the community. You would need something in transition. Declaring martial law would be one way to bridge the gap." "It's a contrived scenario," said the mayor. "But it's not beyond the realm of possibilities if you go that particular route." Chief Chaires said, "When I think of martial law, I think of rioting. I think of Watts riots and things like that. I haven't seen anything that rises to that level. I was a little surprised to hear that." But whether the National Guard needs to be called in or not, we'll take a more-in-depth look on Thursday at the county-wide and State Police options, as officials try to deal with an unprecedented situation in unprecedented ways.

3 comments:

Albany guy said...

the cops know that they can get away with this stuff because the lawyers get away with all their stuff

Anonymous said...

The unaccountability and deregulation era of Bush, Kaye and Spitzer and their staffs, with their well known illegal activities against those in and out of their employ...has led to civil service unrest and corruption within the ranks as well as outside the ranks..and thus since the chiefs give credence to criminal behavior...the followers shall participate!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if someone knows if the Darren Lawrence in this article is the same Darren Lawrence that was a state trooper in Pennsylvania and in trouble there as well?

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2