Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Responding to Grand Jury Decisions

During the demonstration protesting grand jury decisions not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Common Council president Don Moore told the Register-Star that he planned to propose a resolution calling for the Department of Justice to undertake a civil rights investigation. Last night, at the informal meeting of the Common Council, Moore explained that such a resolution would not be necessary, because Attorney General Eric Holder had already announced that the Justice Department would conduct independent investigations into deaths of both Garner and Brown.

Photo: Victor Mendolia
At the meeting, Moore distributed copies of Holder's statement about the Justice Department investigation to members of the Common Council and the press, along with copies of an article that appeared in the Times Union on March 6, 2014. The article concerned Jermaine McCrae, a former Hudson resident who has filed a civil complaint in U. S. District Court alleging that he was repeatedly harassed and twice badly beaten by Hudson police officers in 2011 and 2012. Although it was distributed, there was no mention or discussion of the article or subject matter at the meeting.

On the same topic, although not related, this morning an online petition began circulating demanding that Governor Andrew Cuomo appoint, by executive order, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to "investigate and, if necessary, prosecute cases involving unarmed civilians killed by police officers." That petition can be accessed here.


  1. Well, I will tell you why I did not introduce the question of Mr. McCrae's civil suit.  I had no intention of doing so myself. During the day yesterday I was told by several people, that's generally accepted as two or three or more, that the issue would be the subject of a rally being led by Quintin Cross. Mr. Cross had also emailed me the Times Union article earlier in the day and wanted to know why, if I were bringing up the Eric Garner matter, the Council should not also address the issues of the civil suit brought against the City, specifically the HPD, individual officers and it's former Chief. 

    If asked, I was prepared to say that, as an officer of the City, I cannot comment accept to say, as the current Chief of HPD states in the TU article, we will fully cooperate with the court. Under those circumstances, I no plan to initiate discussion of Mr McCrae's case. But I  was prepared to observe that Mr. Cross might carefully consider whether the former Chief, as both a respondent in the case and a member of his SBK board of directors, would want the issues of the civil suit debated in a nonjudicial forum.  And, frankly, if Mr. cross believes the issue demands to be explored, he has much better avenue readily at hand to get to the facts, much more immediate than with the Common Council.  

    1. This response came from Quintin Cross, president and CEO of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center:

      Don I am just amused that you think a convicted felon a title you throw around in your circles like myself would have a better avenue to get the facts than the Chief voice of the people's body in the City of Hudson, NY. I more amused by the fact that you seem to want to deflect responsibility and place this suit on the shoulders of the retired Chief but you forget the Commissioner is the boss and he is still in office and could readily answer questions if he wanted.

      So lets talk about avenues that are available to the Common Council President. If I were President I could contact the Commissioner and the Current Chief and ask the simple questions, I could request the internal investigation if any and if rebuffed could use the council investigatory power for a larger debate about police misconduct and the 20 claims filed against the police since 2000. I could reach out to Corporation Counsel who is also an Assistant DA and ask for a meeting on what occurred in that process since that office was involved since day . I could contact Michael Kennedy the insurance carrier or whoever is the new person since the insurance carrier traditionally takes on the suits but only if I really wanted to know. I am not saying you will get the right answers but you could say at the very least I looked into it.

      It took you a year to take up a diversity subcommittee because you didn't see the need why would we think you care about this issue. Don you have been in the room over the last 4 years where minority part time employment outside of the youth department has been obliterated all of these folks unemployed because you look at numbers not people. I am going to let the issue of police misconduct stew. Some will think that this case is an anomaly but I will tell you a debate will ensue very shortly on police misconduct in this City because this case is the tip of the iceberg. Sir maybe you will be ready to deal with the issues and will be equipped to manage the position the people elected you to.

  2. Is Officer Jeffrey Keyser still employed by the Hudson Police Department? And I do wonder if there was an internal investigation of the allegations against him, and if so, whether any of the conclusions are publically available or subject to being so through a FOIA request or otherwise. If even some of the allegations are true, the conduct is just shocking to me. Hopefully steps have been taken, or will be taken, to do all that is reasonably possible to avoid any such incidents as were alleged to ever happen in the future. I am confident that most Hudsonians would agree with that.