Herkimer PD faces $2 million lawsuit in deadly police pursuit

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lenoxmuslumlover

Utica, NY

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Oct 8, 2013
 

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HERKIMER — The Herkimer Village Police Department and one of its officers are being accused of not doing enough to prevent a deadly crash that followed a high-speed police pursuit in May 2012, according to court documents.

The $2 million civil lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court stemming from the crash that killed 65-year-old Gail Pietruska and seriously injured her sister, Louise Medallis, 54, both of Frankfort. Police were pursuing the vehicle of Daniel Conklin on Route 5 in the town of Schuyler moments before Conklin’s vehicle slammed into Pietruska’s SUV.

In the lawsuit, Medallis and her attorney, Ricardo Mauro, accuse village police Officer Jody Wheet and the village police department of engaging in an “illegal and dangerous high-speed pursuit” of Conklin’s vehicle at an “excessive, illegal and dangerous rate of speed.”

Thomas Murphy, the Albany attorney representing the defendants, said Wheet and the police department did nothing wrong. Blame, Murphy said Monday, should instead be directed toward Conklin, who is currently serving 5 to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty in Herkimer County Court to second-degree manslaughter, assault and unlawfully fleeing police

“Because the lawsuit is just starting, based on our understanding of events, it is our position that Officer Wheet acted properly,” Murphy said,“and that the accident was solely caused by Mr. Conklin, who has since been convicted of a number of crimes and is serving time in state prison.”

Among the “culpable conduct” the lawsuit claims against Wheet and the police department:

Maintaining the high-speed chase well beyond the village’s jurisdictional boundaries for about 6 miles, contrary to standard police procedure.
Failing to “exercise ordinary and reasonable care” to determine that Conklin’s vehicle was in a position of imminent peril so as to avoid the fatal accident.
Failing to take every, or in fact, any steps whatsoever to avoid the accident.
Failing to recognize that the gravity of risk to the general public posed by the pursuit outweighed the benefit of apprehending the suspect involved, considering the type of crime allegedly committed.

The lawsuit also alleges that the department has not taken steps to end the “illegal” practices and has not disciplined or otherwise properly supervised any officers who engaged in those practices. Instead, the lawsuit states, the department sanctioned those policies and practices through “deliberate indifference.”
thanks wheet ill send you my tax bill
wonderful

Herkimer, NY

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Oct 8, 2013
 

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lenoxmuslumlover wrote:
HERKIMER — The Herkimer Village Police Department and one of its officers are being accused of not doing enough to prevent a deadly crash that followed a high-speed police pursuit in May 2012, according to court documents.
The $2 million civil lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court stemming from the crash that killed 65-year-old Gail Pietruska and seriously injured her sister, Louise Medallis, 54, both of Frankfort. Police were pursuing the vehicle of Daniel Conklin on Route 5 in the town of Schuyler moments before Conklin’s vehicle slammed into Pietruska’s SUV.
In the lawsuit, Medallis and her attorney, Ricardo Mauro, accuse village police Officer Jody Wheet and the village police department of engaging in an “illegal and dangerous high-speed pursuit” of Conklin’s vehicle at an “excessive, illegal and dangerous rate of speed.”
Thomas Murphy, the Albany attorney representing the defendants, said Wheet and the police department did nothing wrong. Blame, Murphy said Monday, should instead be directed toward Conklin, who is currently serving 5 to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty in Herkimer County Court to second-degree manslaughter, assault and unlawfully fleeing police
“Because the lawsuit is just starting, based on our understanding of events, it is our position that Officer Wheet acted properly,” Murphy said,“and that the accident was solely caused by Mr. Conklin, who has since been convicted of a number of crimes and is serving time in state prison.”
Among the “culpable conduct” the lawsuit claims against Wheet and the police department:
Maintaining the high-speed chase well beyond the village’s jurisdictional boundaries for about 6 miles, contrary to standard police procedure.
Failing to “exercise ordinary and reasonable care” to determine that Conklin’s vehicle was in a position of imminent peril so as to avoid the fatal accident.
Failing to take every, or in fact, any steps whatsoever to avoid the accident.
Failing to recognize that the gravity of risk to the general public posed by the pursuit outweighed the benefit of apprehending the suspect involved, considering the type of crime allegedly committed.
The lawsuit also alleges that the department has not taken steps to end the “illegal” practices and has not disciplined or otherwise properly supervised any officers who engaged in those practices. Instead, the lawsuit states, the department sanctioned those policies and practices through “deliberate indifference.”
thanks wheet ill send you my tax bill
As if we don't pay enough already for half assed village services. Maybe if these cops knew how to make decisions like is it really necessary to risk peoples lives to keep this chase going over a speeding ticket? Guess we'll have the answer to that in a few months.
herkimer

Westfield, MA

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#3
Oct 8, 2013
 

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The lawsuit is bulsht. What was officer Wheet supposed to do, let the car go after a female was thrown out of the car while the car was moving? The plaintiff should be ashamed. The sheister lawyer should be disbarred. They should sue the guy who was evading the police, but of course the plaintiff wants to collect more than what that guy can pay, so the obvious defendant has to be the village hoping for a settlement, and the lawyer has to include officer Wheet to make it look credible. These sheister lawyers are unbelievable. I hope the Village and Jody countersue the crap out of the plaintiff. Don't get me wrong, I feel for her but this is shameless and ridiculous.
yeah will

New Lebanon, NY

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Oct 8, 2013
 

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herkimer wrote:
The lawsuit is bulsht. What was officer Wheet supposed to do, let the car go after a female was thrown out of the car while the car was moving? The plaintiff should be ashamed. The sheister lawyer should be disbarred. They should sue the guy who was evading the police, but of course the plaintiff wants to collect more than what that guy can pay, so the obvious defendant has to be the village hoping for a settlement, and the lawyer has to include officer Wheet to make it look credible. These sheister lawyers are unbelievable. I hope the Village and Jody countersue the crap out of the plaintiff. Don't get me wrong, I feel for her but this is shameless and ridiculous.
They sue everybody in these cases. I'm surprised they didn't bring suit against the last place he refueled.
Fish brainz

Herkimer, NY

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#5
Oct 8, 2013
 

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That cop has to make a judgement call and back off. Think about others on the road or in streets . You already had his name let him go and thereal police will get him. Please .gung ho guys with badges
skeeter

Little Falls, NY

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#6
Oct 8, 2013
 

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did someone say ho? I mean gung hoe
duhhhh

Herkimer, NY

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Oct 8, 2013
 

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herkimer wrote:
The lawsuit is bulsht. What was officer Wheet supposed to do, let the car go after a female was thrown out of the car while the car was moving? The plaintiff should be ashamed. The sheister lawyer should be disbarred. They should sue the guy who was evading the police, but of course the plaintiff wants to collect more than what that guy can pay, so the obvious defendant has to be the village hoping for a settlement, and the lawyer has to include officer Wheet to make it look credible. These sheister lawyers are unbelievable. I hope the Village and Jody countersue the crap out of the plaintiff. Don't get me wrong, I feel for her but this is shameless and ridiculous.
She jumped out. Even IF she was pushed, the reasonable thing to do? Stop and make sure she wasn't dead. At the same time he could have quickly found out if the driver was alone, if he was armed and was there really any need to keep the pursuit going. He drove past a person ejected from a moving vehicle. If that isn't gung ho, I don't know what is. A decent lawyer is going to eat him alive over that. His job is to protect lives first. By driving past her he grossly failed to do that. I'm not even a lawyer and even I know for him to have kept on going past the girl on the roadside and continue for another 6 whole miles was reckless and unnecessary. Just because the guy was on parole doesn't mean you can endanger lives trying to write him a ticket.

Since: Apr 09

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Oct 8, 2013
 

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Monday morning lawyers, I love it.
Jerkoff

Syracuse, NY

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#9
Oct 8, 2013
 

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Haha it's obvious you jerkoffs don't know the whole story. There were 3 other patrol cars on that day. He radio'd to them to check her. What would you want done if it was your daughter that got shoved from the car? He was justified, that's already been established by the state police, his department, and the DA's office. The bad guy pled guilty!!! Give it a rest, I'm sure he didn't want the outcome that happened however he was doing his JOB! I suggest you get one and stop acting like you know it all and put the blame where it belongs.
rotflmao

Herkimer, NY

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#10
Oct 9, 2013
 

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Jerkoff wrote:
Haha it's obvious you jerkoffs don't know the whole story. There were 3 other patrol cars on that day. He radio'd to them to check her. What would you want done if it was your daughter that got shoved from the car? He was justified, that's already been established by the state police, his department, and the DA's office. The bad guy pled guilty!!! Give it a rest, I'm sure he didn't want the outcome that happened however he was doing his JOB! I suggest you get one and stop acting like you know it all and put the blame where it belongs.
Hey, when you guys catch up and pass the exit ramp there is going to be a chick on the right side of the road. Stop and see if she's dead. Thanks!
hey losers

New Lebanon, NY

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#11
Oct 9, 2013
 

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If he stops and...
she's alive great, he can find out who the driver is. But if she's dead and he doesn't know who the driver is...it's kind of a wasted stop.

Granted if she is dead and he stops she is still warm. I mean if he hurry's he can still fk her.
Nobama

Little Falls, NY

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#12
Oct 9, 2013
 
have the teachers, do nothing firemen and cops pay for it
up up up

Whitesboro, NY

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#13
Oct 9, 2013
 

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Herkimer taxes will go up (again), herkimer pd pay will go up (again), pension benefits will go up for pd (again), in other words the hard working tax payers pay the brunt of all the blunders and continue to pay an exponentially increasing police retirement burden and the cops will not be punished or penalized one red cent. here is some advice: get out of Herk-town while you still have a bank account
jus wondering

Utica, NY

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#14
Oct 11, 2013
 
if ur driving a car speeding how do u throw someone out a car fact is he made a bad choice whether they win or not he still a POS cop
Funny

Watertown, NY

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#15
Oct 11, 2013
 

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This lawsuit and announcement of this particular Officers promotion to Sergeant were both released in a statement (via facebook by Herkimer PD) and the news on the SAME DAY! Now isn't that ironic lol
pickle puss kate

Utica, NY

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#16
Oct 11, 2013
 
that just tells us the true sad state of affairs Herkimer is really in
kill lady get promoted

Herkimer, NY

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Oct 11, 2013
 

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Funny wrote:
This lawsuit and announcement of this particular Officers promotion to Sergeant were both released in a statement (via facebook by Herkimer PD) and the news on the SAME DAY! Now isn't that ironic lol
Now THAT wont look like they are flipping the bird at their policies and continued actions as the lawsuit suggests. Better hope they win that suit, because if they don't the added expense of him being made a sergeant will be costly. Now if I killed somebody while working the drive thru at McDonald's they wouldn't make me a supervisor!!!!
barfly

Newport, NY

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#18
Oct 11, 2013
 
Nobama wrote:
have the teachers, do nothing firemen and cops pay for it
Don't forget the stupid baby sitters co's.
This is a joke

Syracuse, NY

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Oct 14, 2013
 

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up up up wrote:
Herkimer taxes will go up (again), herkimer pd pay will go up (again), pension benefits will go up for pd (again), in other words the hard working tax payers pay the brunt of all the blunders and continue to pay an exponentially increasing police retirement burden and the cops will not be punished or penalized one red cent. here is some advice: get out of Herk-town while you still have a bank account
I love the fact that you complain about taxes for the services but I bet you dont hesitate one second to use them. If you knew exactly where your tax money goes then you would know that the Village of Herkimer along with every other municipality that has a police agency pays insurance for incidents like these. Just because there is a 2 million dollar law suit does not mean its an automatic win for the plaintiff. Even if she did win, the money does not come right from a village account. Anybody can sue over anything. But just remember, the suspect plead to the manslaughter which means he takes responsability for the action. Every police officer in NYS is in a retirement system, so stop acting like you have the big burden of being the only one. But I bet you use the service if you need it and I bet they answer your call for you. Let me guess, If one of them were to lose their life protecting you and your family, you would most likely complain on topix that your taxes would be affected by a death benefit. If you are so worried about the state of your community, then stop complaining on this site and do something about it. Remember, the only thing standing between your so called perfect lifestyle and complete chaos in this village is that police department. And Im going to base this on what I see in the downtown and near the college as I drive to and from work.
Sue the pigs

United States

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#20
Oct 17, 2013
 

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And also sue the Herkimer police department, the district attorney, and the judges for letting so many criminals get away with crimes with their impotent, soft on criminals, lazy, indifferent to suffering, incompetent approach. "Protect and serve"? Only themselves and the revolving door convicts that repeatedly get light sentences because they know a few insider information about our dear law enforcement officers and district attorney.

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