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New charges, new allegations in Bethlehem police case

After alleging Bethlehem Police Chief Louis Corsi tried to cover up a racist remark made during a phone call, officer Christopher Hughes is still out of work as Deputy Police Chief Timothy Beebe is going through hours of recorded conversations looking for the three-year-old alleged incident.

Standing his ground, as he puts it, Hughes told The Spotlight on Wednesday, Aug. 19, that he was offered a deal by Town Attorney Michael Smith to drop his grievances against back-to-back 30-day suspensions from the Bethlehem Police Department in return for a written disciplinary notice and the loss of three vacation days.

Hughes said he rejected the notion of signing off on any of the department's charges against him.

I didn't do anything wrong and they know that, my 13-year record speaks for itself, Hughes said. "If they had something substantial on me they would have made this go away along time ago, and not added another charge when they figured out the first ridiculous charges couldn't stick."

On June 8, the town added a charge of "insubordination and failure to act in proper manner to/with a superior officer" to original charges of misconduct that resulted in the consecutive 30-day suspensions. The Spotlight first reported the issue on May 28.

The police department's union has filed grievances against both of the suspensions. The grievances are in negotiations.

Hughes filed formal complaints against Corsi and others with the district attorney's Public Integrity Unit, and claims to the DA he is being targeted after speaking to Supervisor Jack Cunningham at his home in May about internal problems at police department.

Cunningham claimed Hughes told him he had a copy of a three-year old audiotape with Corsi telling a former member of Albany County Sheriff's Department, "We have a [racial expletive] in the wood pile," in reference to one of his administrative officers.

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