New Paltz police officer Robert Sisco will not lose his job on account of the controversial rap video he posted on social media in June, town supervisor Neil Bettez announced at the October 15 New Paltz Town Board meeting. The officer, who has been on “administrative leave” since the incident, will be reinstated to his post, according to a Stipulation of Settlement worked out between the town and the Police Benevolent Association. However, Sisco will be on probation for four years, during which time he can be summarily fired for any repeat offenses.
“We have been in arbitration, and we have been advised that this was about as good as we could do,” Bettez reported. “The arbitrator said this was probably not a fireable offense.”
The video that surfaced in June 2020, depicting Sisco rapping in his car while in uniform, shocked many locals, especially residents who identify as LGBTQ+. His self-penned lyrics included a call to hang Hillary Clinton “for treason,” blamed China for the “whole coronavirus” and declared “There’s only two genders.” Critics slammed the performance as “transphobic” and questioned whether the officer could be trusted to provide equal law enforcement protection to transgender citizens.
According to the settlement, Sisco’s punishment will include a 120-day disciplinary layoff, most of which has already passed; a 48-month “disciplinary probation”; an order to issue a public apology to town residents; and 20 hours of community service, monitored by leaders of the LGBTQ+ community. Bettez characterized it as a “last-chance agreement” and “not just a slap on the wrist.”
“My hope is that we learn from our mistakes, as individuals and as a society, and that we can get better,” said the supervisor. The town board unanimously approved the settlement agreement.