UPD costs taxpayers $2 Million

UPD costs taxpayers $2 Million

Posted in the Utica Forum

No Nano 4 U part 5

United States

#1 Aug 27, 2013
Free speech violations alleged after police raid Uptown Theatre


It was supposed to be a “Local Talent Expo” at the Uptown Theatre in South Utica to showcase local hip-hop, R&B and dance performers in September 2011.

But after an anonymous caller reported that two black men allegedly entered the event with rifles and shotguns, Utica police swarmed the premises and created a hotbed of alleged constitutional violations that could ultimately cost the city $2 million, according to a federal lawsuit.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the City of Utica and for the event’s organizers debated in U.S. District Court whether the lawsuit should be dismissed or allowed to move forward into the next phase of fact-finding.

Although District Court Judge David N. Hurd must accept all the allegations as true at this early step in the litigation, Hurd did question whether the stated claims rose to any kind of constitutional violation.

As attorneys David Cafruny and Stephen Lockwood argued on behalf of Ricky Woods and Sylvester Peterson, the event organizers’ rights to free speech were violated and their pockets were unreasonable searched by officers including James Holt and Paul Paladino.

No weapons or drugs were found and nobody was arrested, yet police still broke up the event by ordering everyone to leave based on an alleged “racial animus … toward black music, arts and culture,” their court papers state.

“Why’d they have to bust up the show?” Cafruny asked.“Their speech was chilled. There were still acts that had to go on.”

Cafruny and Lockwood also allege that members of the Utica Police Department further stifled the group’s free speech by approaching other local entertainment venues and discouraging them from hosting future events with Woods and Peterson.

But as the city’s attorneys see it, that loss of business isn’t the result of any free speech violations. Instead, Woods and Peterson were simply being turned away from businesses that had every right to refuse hosting their events, the attorneys suggested.

“They cannot say they were stifled because they continued to try to get jobs and engage in the same type of speech,” argued Merima Smajic, the city’s first Bosnian attorney who has done work for Utica’s Corporation Counsel office as an unpaid student over the past three years.

In response, Hurd questioned that line of reasoning:“If they can’t get work because of the Utica Police Department’s actions, that doesn’t stifle (free speech)?… That doesn’t make any sense, does it?”

The other main argument debated in court Tuesday was whether Utica police had a right to search everyone’s pockets when the reported allegation was that people had entered the theatre with long rifles and shot guns.

“Those cannot be in a person’s pocket,” Cafruny noted.

Even after the theatre’s owner, Tracy Mills, said nobody had entered the premises with such large weapons, Utica police still conducted what Cafruny argued were unreasonable and illegal searches.

But, as Smajic argued, Utica police had every right to search everyone’s pockets because the possibility of larger weapons at the event could reasonably suggest that smaller handguns might be hidden in people’s pockets.

Either way, the lawsuit suggests that Utica police were looking for a reason to scrutinize the event and its organizers. In court documents, Utica police Chief Mark Williams is accused of making defamatory remarks against Woods and Peterson.

Hurd will issue a written decision at a later date on whether any parts or all of the lawsuit should be dismissed.
Actually hate tard

United States

#3 Aug 27, 2013
Put Them In Cages wrote:
Blacks and scumbag hood rats cause this country millions more in welfare and lack of morals!!
Why lock up the cops? Not ALL of them are scum. Besides hate-tard.... public safety welfare costs far far more than food welfare. It's ALL welfare to me. Why not get your ignorant facts straight before you look like more of a blatheringasshole next time huh?

Holland Patent, NY

#4 Aug 27, 2013
Are they ordering more armadillos?

Ithaca, NY

#5 Aug 27, 2013
The real drain is the REGGIN.

When they rob walmart they raise the price, when they sit in jail you feed them. When they have sickle cell you pay the medical bill.
So you want

United States

#6 Aug 27, 2013
So you wanna SCREAM tonight do ya?
Are these crows serious

Ithaca, NY

#7 Aug 27, 2013
Now the stop and frisk is gone. Now police can't even search people in a club when they get a call for guns in a night club? This is going
Too far now, no wonder cops just sit around now why risk getting sued

Cheyenne, WY

#8 Aug 27, 2013
They will definitely lose there were too many witnesses and the attitudes sunk them again. Oh well another failure at the wonderful UPD. What do they care how many millions their stupid asses cost Utica taxpayers. It's not like any of them can afford to pay it!

Schenectady, NY

#9 Sep 26, 2016
Wow UPD wrote:
They will definitely lose there were too many witnesses and the attitudes sunk them again. Oh well another failure at the wonderful UPD. What do they care how many millions their stupid asses cost Utica taxpayers. It's not like any of them can afford to pay it!
Paul Paladino needs to be let go for protecting the COTRUPE FAMILY DRUG RING

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