Ward 9 alderwoman Michelle Hirsch has called for a full and independent investigation into the actions of the Kingston Police Department regarding the murder trial of Raymond Snyder for the 2020 killing of Romero K. Underwood.
In a letter submitted to Common Council president Andrea Shaut on May 3, Hirsch requested a special meeting of the council within five days. At issue appears to be the interrogation of Raymond Snyder, the suspect in the slaying, during which a lawyer was not present.
Kingston detective Brian Grotkin and officer Edward Shuman have provided sworn testimony to the effect that Snyder had not asked for an attorney and submitted willingly to five hours of police questioning.
Under cross-examination, the two officers denied having knowledge of whether there was video footage from a body camera of the verbal exchanges after the suspect was brought in for questioning.
It turned out that there was video footage available from a body camera worn by Grotkin. According to county judge Bryan Rounds, the footage shows the suspect “in sum and substance” asking for a lawyer.
The footage from the body camera was not made available to lawyers for the defense until April 15.
Because of further irregularities in the disclosure of the prosecution’s evidence to the defense, Rounds ruled inadmissible various elements that the prosecution regarded as essential to proving the guilt of the accused.
The end result has been a confusing mishmash of justice dramatically mishandled, for which Rounds upbraided the district attorney’s office in words and rulings. The prosecutor in the case, assistant district attorney Emmanuel Nneji, did not show up in the courtroom to try his own case.
The accused murderer has been set free.
Other instances of misconduct by the same officers involving multiple federal lawsuits have been alleged, some of which the department was forced to settle out of court.
Mayor Steve Noble, disturbed by the serious accusations against members of the police department, has expressed to the council his desire to get to the bottom of the allegations. He has vowed to take steps to determine whether any officers had committed a crime.
Knowingly lying under oath is perjury, a criminal offense.