Bethlehem cop makes public plea

As Bethlehem town officials continue to look into an alleged audiotape of Police Chief Louis Corsi making racist remarks during a telephone conversation, the man at the center of an internal police department investigation made his first public plea to town officials.

Bethlehem police officer Christopher Hughes attended the Wednesday, June 24, Town Board meeting and read a letter regarding a 2008 investigation into workplace violence allegations made against him. He handed board members a four-page letter asking for answers to a number of questions, including the whereabouts of the missing incident report that he said Corsi and Supervisor Jack Cunningham may be involved in.

Hughes, who told Cunningham in May about the alleged recording of Corsi, said he has requested a report of the 2008 incident, in which Hughes was involved in a verbal altercation with another officer, but is getting conflicting accounts on whether it exists.

Considering Chief Corsi thinks nothing of asking one of his staff members to destroy evidence highlighting his racist mentality, can anyone honestly expect me to believe he would hesitate to order such an incident report destroyed, Hughes said in the letter. "Why won't Jack allow me to face my accuser? Where is this report? I hope it's not hidden somewhere in Chief Corsi's woodpile."

Cunningham said he has no idea why Hughes continues to speak out against him and the chief and said he was in no way involved with the workplace violence investigation.

"No, it's not true at all. I was made aware of what was going on then, but I'm not involved in any way," Cunningham said of Hughes claim. "Apparently the report doesn't exist."

Hughes sent several FOIL requests for the initial complaint against him. He was granted partial disclosure of the "incident maintenance" computer log on Dec. 18, 2008.

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