I have been troubled over an article that appears in the July 26, 2012 issue of the Saugerties Times. The article is written by Robert Ford and is titled: “Arrest that left suspect bloodied up for review.”
Now I have watched the video referred to in the article many times, and I can in no way reconcile some of the reporting or Police Chief Sinagra’s comments with what I see on the video.
In regard to the reporting, the first error is that officer Hastings “put the teen over the passenger front fender of the patrol car and tried to search him.” Not accurate – officer Gambino put the teen over the front fender and was searching him when Hastings came over and roughly pushed the teen’s face into the hood of the car. Nothing justified that aggressive move by the officer. That’s when the teen started kicking, and that, to my mind, was justified self-defense by a terrorized and terrified youngster.
The reporter then says: “Sinagra said that as Hastings struggled with the teen, they slipped and the teen fell into the ground.” Again, not an accurate description by either the reporter or the chief. I don’t know if the chief actually said that, or the reporter misheard him, but the reality which is clear in the video, is that Hastings lifts the teen off his feet and then throws him to the ground. Anyone wishing to see for one’s self should go to YouTube and enter “12477 cop drops kid.”
The reporter includes three other quotes by Chief Sinagra: “It appeared that the officers acted within departmental guidelines,” “I wouldn’t expect the officers to act any other way,” and “I support my officers 100 percent.”
The final paragraph states that Supervisor Kelly Myers would discuss the matter with the chief and that she had viewed the video. I have seen no results of that discussion. But I am appalled by the lack of concern by this community to this blatant bullying and excessive use of force by officer Hastings.
I am also troubled by what I have gotten from the article about our new police chief. Perhaps the article is poorly written. I would like to see follow-up by the Saugerties Times. The statement, “I support my officers 100 percent,” is frightening. It may make your officers feel good, but support them when they do good work, not all the time, not unconditionally. They should not have a license to act badly. I think we understand about bullying these days, and a bully cop is the worst kind of bully.
Saugerties Times: lame and right-wing
The editor’s reply to Dr. Rhoney Stanley’s letter criticizing the article about Maurice Hinchey’s wife, Alison Lee, was quite lame. There was no excuse for devoting almost a half page to the issue and including a large photo of her which looked like a mug shot. It was inappropriate and I hope, with reflection, will provide some greater editorial sophistication. Together with the full page of Hugh Reynolds and his anti-Hinchey rants, the Saugerties Times often has felt like Fox News to me. Perhaps that’s also OK with this editor.
Many omissions in hagiographic health column
Geddy Sveikauskas’s cloying piece on his neighbor Ed Ullmann in last week’s Times conveniently left out a few details of the “business” life of Mr. Ullmann. Such as how many people in this area lost a bundle after being coaxed into buying stock in WellCare as a “support” for local business. Geddy mentions, but oh so briefly before scurrying on, that there was serious funny business in the auditing of WellCare’s finances, which “forced” Mr. Ullmann out and [here is a missing detail] made the stock worthless. Further financial maneuvers allowed a few insiders to reconstitute the business without the hassle of having to make whole those small investors who lost their entire investment.
If you strip out the flowery language, Geddy has outlined a serial loser who took one business venture after another down the tubes. Does the editor of this paper ever vet any of these “feature” pieces to see if they make any sense to anyone but the writer?