UPDATE: Utica Police Release Full Video Of Alleged Drug Planting [VIDEO]
Utica, NY (WIBX) - Utica Police are responding to allegations of misconduct following the release of a video that some argue shows an officer planting drugs inside the vehicle of two suspects during a February, 2011 traffic stop.
The Utica Phoenix weekly newspaper posted a one-minute and forty second video clip of the traffic stop in which an officer can be seen removing something from his rear pocket, ducking into the suspects' vehicle, then coming back out of the SUV with a plastic bag.
The story appeared in the December 30th, 2011 edition of the Utica Phoenix, and the video was posted on youtube.
Utica Police say the whole story is not being told and have released the entire 26-minute video of the traffic stop. The video below was found on uticaod.com.
In an interview with the Utica Observer Dispatch, Chief Mark Williams says the longer video shows the officer removing drug evidence from each of the suspects. Williams says the officer placed that evidence into his own pockets and that is what can be seen being removed in the video clip released by the Utica Phoenix. (Click the attached link to view the entire video and hear Williams' comments)
Also, Williams says, officers who were not present at the stop, have been mis-identified and slandered by the erroneous reporting of the Utica Phoenix. The outlets website, www.uticaphoenix.net, has a message posted on the page saying the site has been suspended.
Utica Phoenix Editor Cassandra Harris-Lockwood says the site crashed today due to the volume of visits.
She also sent an email to other local media outlets Tuesday afternoon addressing Williams' statement about officers being mis-identified. Below is what Harris-Lockwood says is an email segment she sent to Chief Williams and his response:
In response to Chief Williams' assertion that the Utica Phoenix reported erroneous information in last week's article, UPD Caught On Tape, please review the list of questions emailed to him last week regarding the case.It was sent to him on the 27th. He responded on the 28th. Question number 4 asks the specific question as to the identity of of the officers. This was his response:
We have an on-going internal affairs investigation regarding this matter, therefore I am not able to speak about it.
I've already met with Venice Ervin of the NAACP on this complaint. When this matter has been thoroughly investigation, I plan on meeting with Mr. Ervin first to discuss the results of the investigation.
"The Chief refused to either verify or correct the information requested of him. He was specifically asked to confirm the officers involved and he chose not to do so. As soon as we gained the information of the second officer, we corrected in in all online references", Harris-Lockwood said in her email to other media outlets.
After that email was delivered to local media, Chief Williams sent an email to Harris-Lockwood, and several area media outlets were cc'd on his message which read:
Journalism 101: write what you factually know. You slandered the names of police officers that were not present or involved in this matter.
That is irresponsible journalism.
WIBX will speak to Sgt. Steve Hauck on WIBX First Look on Friday morning at 8:30. The invite has also been extended to Chief Williams.