Man arrested on weapons charges following Saugerties road rage incident

Yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m., Saugerties Police responded to a complaint of a reported road-rage incident that occurred on Route 212 in the town of Saugerties. A man reported to officers that another driver had pulled up alongside his vehicle screaming at the man about his driving and then used several racial slurs towards the victim.

The victim then reportedly followed the other driver to the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts on Ulster Avenue in the Village of Saugerties, where the complainant reported that the other driver displayed a handgun and then threatened the victim.

The offender, identified as Douglas Melka, 30, of Purling, NY, was located on Livingston St. in the Village of Saugerties, where police found Melka in possession of three unregistered handguns, all loaded. According to police, the handguns lacked any identifying serial numbers as required by law. Melka was arrested on the following charges:

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Menacing in the second degree

Criminal Possession of weapon in the second degree (three counts)(felonies)

He was processed at Saugerties Police Headquarters and then arraigned in the Village of Saugerties Justice Court and released.

There are 15 comments

  1. AnotherTakeOnIt

    Another catch and release… while Cuomo continues to blame the guns and not the people.

  2. BS

    Why in God’s name, was this felon released? Should not he be incarcerated? What is wrong with this picture? The hammer should have fallen hard on this menace to society. I just do not understand the move, to release such a dangerous, illegally armed to the hilt perpetrator. Why was he not brought in front of a judge, and jailed without bail? What will the excuse be, the next time, when this degradante shoots his next victim, or even kill’s. Released, what a joke!

  3. Roadshow Magic.

    I agree.

    Here is a guy who threatens another person with a weapon. He is then arrested with three unregistered hand guns without serial numbers. And then released.

    I don’t fault the cops. They’re simply obeying the Law. Yet there is clearly something wrong with the Law. Especially in this sort of dangerous situation. The arrested man had three loaded illegal weapons! Why was he driving around with three loaded weapons! Do we all have to wait until he uses these guns in a crime, or sells them to someone else before we lock him up?

    The Law ideally must protect the law-abiding public. When an indivdual chases another individual and uses a weapon to threaten that individual, decisive action must be taken. And when that individual is found with three loaded illegal weapons in his possession, he definetely should not be released.

    Yes, I know there are going to be some commenters that will argue that this individual is innocent until proven guilty. Yes, that’s true. Yet we need to ask: at what point does common sense get codified into the Law? At what point to we arrest, arraign and lock-up a person who is a clear and present danger to our community?

  4. Bill H

    It is deeply disturbing that Melka was released. This one boggles the mind. But we must never abandon the most important tenet of our criminal justice system, which is the presumption of innocence. If we citizens do give that up, willingly and only after reading a single news article, then our justice system is no different than any other. Be patient and let a judge, and eventually a jury, decide what crimes were committed. And if you end up on this jury I hope to god you are willing to listen to actual evidence with an unbiased mind.

    Also, why do we all feel compelled to so quickly give our poorly informed opinion about these crimes and this person’s guilt? Why do we need to take a position at all? Especially knowing only what this article covers, and so early on in the case?

    For example, what if the judge was not yet convinced of the other person’s claims? The weapons possession is based on police testimony, and I assume the existence of the weapons themselves. But the menacing? Who knows how credible that is? Let the courts decide. There are so many factors that contribute to the decision to release the accused and we are not privy to them.

  5. Roadshow Magic.

    Bill, it would be wise to assume that the complaint of menacing has some validity. Why? Because as a result of the complaint the police reported that they apprehended the accused and found three loaded, unregistered guns with the ID numbers removed in the accused’s possession.

    Clearly something ugly went down between the victim and the accused. If you wish to not believe the police’s report stated in this article, you are free to do so. If so, how then do we explain the discovery of the three illegal weapons? If we discount the menacing complaint – although I believe it to be true – there still remains the incriminating weapons.

    What is puzzling to me is that you begin your comment by stating:

    “It is deeply disturbing that Melka was released. This one boggles the mind.”

    Yes, it does. It certainly does. This is my very point, and the point of the other commenters.

    But then you go on to say:

    “…Why do we all feel compelled to so quickly give our poorly informed opinions about this person’s guilt? Why do we need to take a position at all? Especially knowing only what this article covers, and so early on in the case?”

    Yet you admit that you were “deeply disturbed that Melky was released.” And “that this one boggles the mind.”

    Bill, are you disturbed and boggled as a result of of reading the facts of this case that have been reported thus far? Or are you merely stating “a poorly informed opinion?” For a usually thoughtful and careful writer your comments strike me as curiously contradictory.

    By the way, your last sentence in the first paragraph was truly patronizing. Let me ask you this: Are you honestly up to the task of judging this case with “an unbiased mind”?

    I hope to God you are.

  6. Bill H

    RM, to answer your question about being unbiased, the Constitution requires it of jurors. So, even if I read an HV1 article about this case, I would be able to sit on a jury and determine guilt only on the evidence presented in court, and NOT AT ALL allow information from news articles to cloud my judgement. We should strive to be unbiased in that way. Or, during jury selection, make it clear that we are not able to rise to the occasion.

    Here is Justia’s explanation of impartial juries: https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-06/07-impartial-jury.html

    My problem with folks who read a single, brief news article and think that they have enough evidence to publicly condemn the accused in this forum is that doing so flouts the rights of the accused codified in the 4th, 5th and 14th amendments to the constitution. And that the opinion is arrived at with very little evidence. That is pretty scary to me.

    The majority of the Bill of Rights were written to provide strong protections for those accused of crimes and the reason is that government officials (police, prosecutors, judges) make mistakes and can be corrupt. My main point above was to remind folks of that reality.

    And yet I am not at all arguing that Melka is innocent, or even likely innocent. That the news of his release boggles my mind (meaning that I am very puzzled by it) does not mean I have formed an opinion on his innocence or guilt. In fact, I am doing my best not to have an opinion that is solely based on this article, although it will certainly contribute to one as I learn more.

    I apologize if I have offended.

    1. Jaymes Nohns

      ……I will call you out as a hypocrite…..you will however, get a vaccine by the advice of 1 administration….you might want to circle back and re-read your post……your hypocrisy is redundant at this point, and are losing your credibilty as a poster pretty fast….nothing personal….but please stop molding the narratives, and have some transparency here…..you clearly play both sides of the fence

  7. Roadshow Magic.

    Bill, I appreciate your comments, and I agree with you on some points.

    Yes, articles like this one can be thin on facts, however when people, including myself, read that Mr. Melka was caught with three loaded, unregistered weapons. I, and the other commenters are prompted to wonder if this is not egregious enough to keep him locked-up until his trial? I still believe he shouldn’t have been released. Keeping Melka in jail would also have not only protected the public, but it also would have allowed the police to request a search warrant of his home to discover if he was in possession of any other weapons. After all, if Mr. Melka was armed with three weapons while driving around in his vehicle, is it not fair to assume that there is at least the real possibility that he also has weapons at home? Without a legal search we will probably never know.

    As I’ve stated before I support the legal idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty. I suspect that the vast majority of people do.

    However this presumption of innocence does not mean, as I’m sure you know, that a person can necessarily be released to go home after they have been arrested.

    Prosecutors routinely argue that defendants not be given bail or released. Asking the court to order a defendant to remain incarcerated does not mean that the prosecutors expect that the defendant’s presumption of innocence is erased.

    Why do proscutors ask the court that a defendant be held?

    There are several reasons.

    The defendant may have a police record, and possibly a history of violence. He may be accused of killing someone.

    The defendant may be deemed to be a clear and present danger to himself and others. A defendant threatening to commit suicide, for example, will definetely be held for psychiatric observation.

    The defendant may have been arrested on a warrant for not appearing when summoned. In this case, the defendant is not going home.

    The defendant might be a flight risk. This is not uncommon. Especially if the defendant knows he’s guilty, the cops and the prosecutor knows he’s guilty, and everyone involved knows he’s going to go jail. Possibly for a long time.

    Earlier this year, Ghislaine Maxwell (an associate of Jeffrey Epstein), was arrested for her role in attracting and steering underage girls to Epstein for sex. Maxwell was arrested, and was wisely deemed a flight risk. She was denied bail. And was returned to her cell. Of course Maxwell is still innocent until proven guilty.

    Despite the presumption of innocence there are some accusations that are so heinous that wisdom dictates that we not allow the accused to sleep in his own bed for awhile. Better to keep a close eye on some individuals until their fate is decided in court.

    1. Bill H

      RM, thanks for taking the time to write your ;point of view. I appreciate it. I agree that there are cases in which the crimes are so serious that a person should be detained. And if there is enough evidence that Melka might have committed these crimes, or that he is a danger, he should be detained. I believe the police testimony regarding the three unlicensed handguns with no serial numbers should be enough.

      I also respect due process. The police made the arrest, collected evidence, and then brought it to a judge at arraignment. A judge released Melka pending the next court date. We do not know why, and I am not willing to speculate or guess. But I do agree that Melka’s release raises serious questions that need to be answered.

  8. BS

    We can presume, that he is innocent; however, we can, and I will, presume a man with three unregistered guns, that he just pointed at another human being, in a road rage incident, is a danger to the public, at large.

    1. Bill H

      Unless I misunderstand you, in your mind you have already convicted Douglas Melka. No trial needed. No due process. Just simply that the police said so. I am scratching my head. Did you arrive at your verdict based only on this article? Were you at court during his arraignment? If your verdict is based in this article alone, I suggest that you are among those who are very easily manipulated by the media. That would explain some of your positions in some of the other posts.

      You tend to argue that people should think for themselves (and I agree) and yet you are completely willing to condemn a man based on the above HV1 article. Somehow you have no impulse to inquire, or desire more information, before publicly condemning a fellow citizen. That makes me worry what else you read. And it brings me back to my original concern about what happens when someone like you ends up on a jury.

      1. BS

        Funny Bill, basically my post, is stating what you almost too point, are stating in your upper reply post to Roadshow Magic, why attack my post? When, in your latest response too Roadshow, you “presume”, so too speak, it would seem right outloud I might add, that Melka, it would appear, is a dangerous man. Believing the HV1 delineation of the incident, including their reporting, not only, of the incident, but adding a statement “according to police”, caused, not just myself, but, we both; too “presume” in our own minds, with educated reason, that Melka should have been detained. You express just that in your, said, post. Why the attack, then?

        In your first paragraph, is it not what you are doing, presuming a man, as such, is a danger? Did I say, in my post, anything at all about this, or any of my fellow women and man’s rights too due process? Did I “condemn” anyone? No. I simply stated, that a supposedly reported man with three unregistered, seriel number removed, weapons of death, who already displayed them in a “rage” incident, should be “presumed” by others, “as a danger”. I bet the police presumed so, the whole while. And, I will also add, “presuming” someone, or something is, well, anything, not just a “danger”, might be considered a bit, for the lack of any better word; “Presumptuous”, I assure you it can also be quite a good “precaution” in one’s life also. No? I tend too agree with most of your past posts, and ideological thinking. I like it when I can actually smell the wood burning; so too speak. However, your reply baffles me a might, when you basically agree with my post, only one reply before. Can you elaborate?

        Again; the man deserves due process, but as you, I, and most, I might even assume, can agree the SNAFU, of his release, seems quite strange. As a taxpaying citizen, I believe, locking up, and keeping dangerous people locked up, should be priority one of my servant Police Department. Far above any traffic violation, jaywalking, stop sign running, pot smoking, etc, etc, add infinitum, deliquence, would be the routing out, and detainment of those who are considered (H’mmm considered, awful close in definition too “presumed”) “dangerous”.

        So, my answer too you then, is a resounding ” YES”! I will “Presume” that this dude is dangerous, and as such, a dangerous person, in my humble opinion; should be kept away from the innocent public citizen, at large. All from just this little hometown diurnal, that I still have faith in.

        1. Bill H

          BS, Sorry for the attack. I was wrong to do that. There is a lot to respond to in your post, but let me just try to clarify. I am puzzled and deeply concerned by the town judge’s decision to release Melka pending a trial. The charges themselves (what the police say happened) are certainly crimes that would justify detaining him. So we can’t blame bail reform. But at arraignment the judge decided that the charges did not warrant detention. Why not? The judge’s decision should give us citizens pause. There are many factors that can contribute to Melka’s release, none of which we are privy to, and some of them lead a judge to release him. Was the alleged victim’s story questionable or incomplete? Were the police sloppy or overzealous? Did the police recommend releasing him? Where is the prosecutor in all this (the one that formally charges the accused)? What was her/his recommendation regarding detention or release? Is the judge a bleeding heart liberal?

          I don’t know if these are the right questions, nor do I know the answers to any of them. Here is where I — no, we — do not know enough to draw a conclusion and then presume guilt for all the charges. Again, though, I agree that there are certainly circumstances in which a suspect should be held in custody pending further investigation or trail. I just don’t think we should be so quick to judge based on this early information.

          Again, the HV1 writer is not reporting that anything happened except that the police reported… and an arraignment happened. I trust our local paper, too. I think the writer did a very good job reporting the facts, which is essentially only a police report, that there was an arraignment, and that the judge released Melka. Let’s just say I have a lot more questions than I do opinions. I am not willing to make the assumptions you make. But I will respect your position. And sorry for the personal attack.

      2. BS

        Sooooo, Bill H., you believe from, just this one sample of my opinion, that I could not make a reasonable, and impartial decision, based solely on the facts presented? In response; That, worries me of your sense of judgement.

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