The police officer at the center of the controversial release of a report that found he used excessive force was accused of abusing another suspect months earlier.
According to documents, Officer Kyle Jones was found to have used excessive force while arresting Cohoes resident Frank Fogarty on Dec. 23, 2012. He was also accused of using excessive force while arresting Brian Houle, of First Street in Troy, on June 26 of the same year. The second incident was just days after a bizarre Facebook exchange between the two and then a telephone conversation where the two debated the meaning of a hero.
According to the April 18 letter Chief John Tedesco sent Fogarty: “I write today in response to the personnel complaint you initiated by you alleging that Officer Kyle Jones caused you to suffer physical injuries during your arrest on December 23, 2012.
“An investigation into this matter has concluded, and it has been determined that Officer Jones did utilize excessive force against you. Please know that any remaining actions taken on this matter will be administrative in nature.”
AND A PHOTO OF
HIS BRIUSED RIBS
I’m not sure what “administrative in nature” means but I’m told it is non-criminal, and can include anything from a written reprimand, to a suspension without pay, to termination.
According to documents, at around 1:30 a.m. Fogarty was arrested for fighting at the intersection of Broadway and the Franklin Street Alley. When Jones tried to place him under arrest, Fogarty resisted; and his wife helped. They allegedly succeeded in their effort to resist, and they were charged because of it. They were also charged with harassment and Frank had a disorderly conduct charge thrown in too. Fogarty filed an official complaint alleging Jones used excessive force and an Internal Affairs investigation determined that to be the case.
Force, of course, is a necessary evil in law enforcement, as police officers are, at times, called upon to put people in handcuffs and take them to jail. Understandably, many would rather not see that happen. I am not going to guess what constitutes an excessive use of necessary force because I’m sure there are a number of variables in any given situation.
I’m not sure those variables include the definition of “hero,” however.
On June 26, 2012 Jones and others arrested Brian Houle for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in front of his First Street home. Four days prior to the arrest, Houle, a freelance photographer, called himself a hero on the social media site Facebook for putting out a car fire in Lansingburgh. Jones took exception using the word hero, questioned whether there was even a fire and after posting his thoughts on Facebook engaged in a lengthy telephone debate with Houle over the definition of hero. Of course, Houle recorded the entire conversation and while Jones may not have directly threatened Houle, he came pretty close. An IA investigation found Jones did not use excessive force but did violate two Code of Conduct provisions, including the one where an officer is required to maintain a degree of impartiality.
I’m still kind of confused as to why Jones decided to arrest Houle (pictured at right shortly after his arrest) in the first place. Houle claims he was targeted because of the earlier not so friendly interactions. Jones claims Houle jumped out in front of his cruiser to provoke the arrest. Witnesses and Houle claim he was beaten by the officers’ flashlights – yes it’s plural because Jones did call in backup. While other witnesses and police claim Houle was beating his head against the cruiser’s windows.Anyway, now the Police Benevolent Association is upset with the fact Tedesco released the letter to Fogarty and wants the IA to investigate. The chief says he’s done the same thing scores of times and wants the FBI to investigate the allegations. The chief waived his right to confidentiality and has invited the press to sit in on his IA proceeding. A gutsy move for sure.
The PBA and its president, Bob Fitzgerald, have been quiet as of late because they got their guy, Commissioner Anthony Magnetto, in to oversee Tedesco and the Police Department. But, Magnetto said he might step down early next year and the PBA has to start dirtying up Tedesco again so Mayor Lou Rosamilia appoints another commissioner to keep the chief in check. If you remember, Tedesco, who was appointed chief by then Mayor Harry Tutunjian, tried to shake things up at the TPD by disbanding some tired and ineffective bureaus to make things run more efficiently. He succeeded, but it did irk the PBA which would like nothing but the status quo. (photo above is of Tedesco and Jones during the latter's swearing in.)
This one is not over by a long shot. We have the IA investigation into the chief and Houle and Fogarty are suing the city with Danielle Neroni and Trey Smith representing, respectively. Houle was found not guilty of the criminal charges. It's unclear the disposition of Fogarty's case.