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More fallout from ‘Guilderland sophomore rap’

Lawyer says cops overzealous in publicizing cyberbullying arrests

Guilderland Police Capt. Curtis Cox on Thursday, Nov. 21, announced the arrest of four Guilderland High School juniors charged with cyberbullying. The misdemeanor charge against the teens stems from their alleged involvement in an explicit rap song naming fellow sophomore students.

Guilderland Police Capt. Curtis Cox on Thursday, Nov. 21, announced the arrest of four Guilderland High School juniors charged with cyberbullying. The misdemeanor charge against the teens stems from their alleged involvement in an explicit rap song naming fellow sophomore students. Photo by John Purcell.

— A lawyer for one of the four Guilderland teens charged under Albany County’s cyberbullying law said he is concerned with the way the Guilderland Police Department publicized the arrests, although police said the incident was handled the same as the department would any other case.

There were no television cameras or much media attention at all when the four Guilderland teens were arraigned Thursday, Dec. 5, in Town Court, with each boy facing an unclassified misdemeanor charge of cyberbullying. All of the boys were arraigned privately in the judge’s chambers behind closed doors.

“The worst-case scenario in this case, the judge would have to give youthful offender status,” said Andrew Safranko, a lawyer representing one of the boys. “Because they are underage, the proceedings need to be closed and need to be done in chambers.”

The court records are sealed, with the outcomes of the cases likely to never be revealed, but the boys’ names have already been widely reported. At least one broadcast media outlet ran their photos, which appeared to have been from the yearbook.

Police never released mug shots of the four boys, because procedurally such photos are not taken with unclassified misdemeanor arrests.

Spotlight News has not printed the names of the four boys, because it is the paper’s policy to not release the names of anyone under the age of 18 charged with a misdemeanor. The four charged boys were 16 to 17 years old when the incident occurred.

Safranko said he has “a lot of concern” over the Guilderland Police Department releasing the names of the four boys.

“Frankly, I don’t think that the police should have made the arrest in the way that they did, or have these guys come in the way that they did,” Safranko said. “They know at some point this case is going to be completely sealed and done and over with.”

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