Man sues town for $75 million
The town is also the target in another lawsuit filed by a Selkirk resident. John A. Robinson filed the suit in May, alleging two Bethlehem police officers falsely arrested and beat him. It also claims the officers sodomized Robinson with a nightstick.
John Bailey, an attorney at the firm representing the town in the case, said the allegations set forth in the lawsuit are unfounded.
"Needless to say, we emphatically " and I do mean emphatically " deny these accusations," he said. "The chief and his command staff are first-rate people. If anything remotely like this ever happened, the officers involved would be disciplined in a minute over this."
A police department representative said BPD officers are issued collapsing batons, and referred all other questions to attorneys.
The suit says the incident occurred in May of 2008, when officers Chad Rice and Michael Whiteley arrested Robinson on charges he approached two teenage girls walking on the side of the road and offered them money to let him sniff their feet. Robinson signed a statement admitting to the incident, but he now says it was coerced through violence.
In an interview with The Spotlight, Robinson denied the foot-sniffing incident. He said the police fabricated the charges to discredit and embarrass him, and to intimidate him to drop a wrongful termination lawsuit he had against a heavy equipment repair shop in town. That lawsuit was eventually settled for $10,000. The business, Robert H. Finke and Sons, of Selkirk, has done business with the town before.
The case against Robinson, which includes charges of endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, has been transferred to the Town of Colonie, where Robinson is scheduled to appear later this month.
Potter said the police department has conducted an investigation into the suit's claims, but declined to go into specifics.