Appearing on Talk1300 Saturday, Police Chief John Tedesco said the city hired an independent law firm to investigate a complaint filed by Councilwoman Anastasia Robertson, D-D-District 2, against Police Benevolent Association President Tom Hoffman.
The complaint revolves around statements Hoffman made at the September Council meeting. During the public forum section, Hoffman said Robertson was part of a crowd that was attempting to incite officers to use violence while they were recording the scene on their cell phones.
However, his rendition of the episode was debunked when Robertson produced her actual cell phone video showing that while tensions between the officers and the crowd were thick, Robertson was trying to calm things down. She released the video first to News Channel 6 and then held a press conference days later.
Tedesco said he was at the Council meeting and as such would be a witness in the investigation so the city opted to hire an outside law firm – Bailey, Kelleher and Johnson – rather than have Internal Affairs conduct the probe. Mayor Lou Rosamilia was also present.
He added that he hopes part of the investigation includes an attempt to locate additional video footage of the Aug. 30 incident.
On that day, officers were at a domestic incident involving a white woman and a black woman. Upon their arrival, the white woman left the scene while officers questioned the black woman in an effort to find out what was going on.
The crowd in the North Central neighborhood interpreted that as officers allowing the white woman to walk away while placing the black woman under arrest. Hoffman, who took over as president of the PBA when Bob Fitzgerald retired, said members of the crowd spit at officers and “tried to bait officers into a physical confrontation.”
Hoffman called on the city to investigate Robertson and Robertson filed her own complaint against Hoffman. The Times Union says she claimed Hoffman engaged in official misconduct, which is a misdemeanor.
Days earlier, Robertson enraged many by a posting on Facebook that stated there is a concerted and organized effort by white people to exterminate black people. She referred to this country as AmeriKKKa.