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Bethlehem suspends chief for 10 days

Cunningham said he would hope residents who have concerns about his integrity would contact him.

Officer reacts to suspension

Hughes expressed discontent with the town's decision to suspend Corsi.

"I just feel that 10 days in a slap in the face to the other guys in the department," he said.

"It wasn't so much making the racial slur, it was that he approached someone in the staff about erasing it," Hughes continued. "He's been lying to Jack Cunningham and has denied having ever made the comment."

The town's investigation found that Corsi did ask department communications officers whether erasing a tape would be possible, but since he did not specifically ask for the conversation in question to be erased, the town did not find his actions to be criminal.

Hughes is in the grievance process for two 30-day suspensions from the department. He has been out on sick leave.

Hughes stood before the Town Board on Wednesday and blasted the town's investigation " singling out Cunningham on several occasions " and said the search for the tape took too long and should have been tasked to an outside agency instead of being headed by Deputy Chief Timothy Beebe. The investigation started in June, shortly after Hughes took his allegations to Cunningham.

Potter said that Beebe was selected because the tapes contained sensitive information about department procedures, informants and personal calls.

"We wanted somebody within the police department who could listen to the confidential tapes, and he found the tapes," Potter said. "As soon as this issue came up, the supervisor said, 'find the tape.'"

In a later interview, Cunningham said that limiting the search to the time of the Porco investigation did little to help because of the length of that case.

"It was narrowed down to a two-year time period," he said. "I don't think it took all that long to do all this work."

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