Planted evidence, no charges on trooper and the UPD under fire:
The Utica Police Department is coming under a ton of scrutiny and outrage throughout the community the past few days. On social networks, the outrage has become viral.
First, the Utica Phoenix reported on an ongoing case involving a videotape that appearently shows a UPD officer planting evidence during a veichle stop back in February. The tape was brought to the NAACP and then brought to the attention of UPD and the FBI. One of the officers involved, Officer Holt, is the son-in-law of newly elected Mayor Robert Palmieri. UPD says they’re conducting an internal investigation. Considering the relation, Palmieri needs to get out in front of this and demand that the F.B.I. takeover the investigation in order to avoid any perception of preferential treatment. Now the community is up in arms about a recent case in which a NYS Trooper, Jesse Miller, allegedly kicked in a couple’s door in the middle of the night and attacked the occupants. The resident, who was sent to the hospital, say he didn’t know the individual and reports indicate that he did call 911 while Miller was “pounding on his door”. Before police arrived, Miller kicked in the door and attacked the resident. The resident responded in self defense by hitting Miller with a hammer. However, UPD has yet to file charges and claims to be treating the trooper like any other individual. Interesting considering the hawkish intensity in which the UPD posts mugshots on their facebook page of anyone arrested on the slightest of charges. For example, you can find mugshots of people who have been arrested for stealing lipstick.
The way in which these cases are being handled is once again raising tensions in the community about the perceived corruption that’s been systemic in Utica over the decades. The planted evidence video harkens back memories to the Walter Washington case a few years ago. In that case, Washington was shot dead by the UPD after allegedly pulling a gun on officers, which was later learned to be a BB gun. However, it has been maintained by eye witnesses and those close to the incident that Washington never had possession of the gun, and that it was seen being pulled out of a police cruiser’s trunk and planted beside Washington after he was killed.
Whether these allegations are true or not, the UPD and local elected officials aren’t helping the situation with their lack of urgency to respond to the public’s questions. Hopefully the FBI will come in and do a full investigation of UPD practices over the years.