The criminal investigation into the actions of five Schenectady police officers involved in the arrest of a suspect in a December drunken driving case has been transferred to the state, officials said.
Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago signed the order late Thursday afternoon, accepting arguments from Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney to take his office off the case.
The problem, Carney said, is that one of the suspended officers, Daryl Mallard, is married to Lisa Mallard, one of Carney’s investigators.
Officer Mallard’s relationship to the case also has to be determined. “He could be a participant, he could be a witness,” Carney said Thursday evening. “But my ability to make that decision is subject to criticism.”
The decision now means the state Attorney General’s Office will take over the investigation. The Attorney General’s Office has a public integrity bureau, along with a criminal prosecutions bureau, Carney said.
Schenectady police officials last week suspended with pay the five officers — Mallard, Kevin Derkowski, Gregory Hafensteiner, Andrew Karaskiewicz and Eric Reyell — pending an investigation of allegations of excessive force in the arrest of the suspect.
Karaskiewicz was the arresting officer who charged Pattersonville resident Donald Randolph early on the morning of Dec. 7 in the parking lot of the Union Street McDonald’s restaurant.
Carney’s motion also sheds some new light on exactly where and when the alleged misconduct took place, and the roles of the other officers.
Karaskiewicz made the initial arrest at the McDonald’s, taking Randolph into custody there.
The alleged beating, however, took place six blocks away, near the corner of Union and McClellan streets, according to Carney’s motion.
Karaskiewicz stopped there to transfer Randolph to the department’s prisoner wagon. The wagon was driven by Officer Mallard. The three other officers arrived separately in patrol cars, partners Reyell and Derkowski in one car and Hafensteiner in another.
The motion states that Randolph’s accusations are that one or more officers used excessive force and he was injured.
Randolph’s family alleged that a half-dozen officers beat him while arresting him.
A report Thursday by Gazette columnist Carl Strock states that a police recording of such an incident exists.
Carney’s motion does not provide any more insight into what evidence may exist, including any recordings from patrol car cameras.
A police internal affairs investigation concluded Randolph’s complaint had merit, referring it to Carney’s office for possible criminal prosecution, the motion reads.
Carney has since met with Randolph and reviewed the evidence. Carney agreed that further investigation was needed to determine whether criminal charges should be brought.
But with the Mallard husband and wife connection, Carney met with attorney general’s officials Dec. 28 — the day Mallard, Hafensteiner and Derkowski were suspended — to ask that office to take the case. He got his answer Monday, and the judge’s approval Thursday.
Randolph is charged with felony aggravated unlicensed operation, felony driving while intoxicated and violation harassment.
Randolph’s attorney, Paul Callahan, has claimed that while Randolph was charged with driving offenses, he wasn’t behind the wheel — another person was, and that person fled. That claim, Callahan said, is backed up by a drive-through McDonald’s worker.
Callahan could not be reached for comment Thursday.
There was some indication, however, that E. Stewart Jones’ office may be getting involved. George LaMarche, a member of Jones’ office, Thursday confirmed the firm has been contacted.
Records show Randolph was imprisoned twice in the 1990s on burglary and robbery convictions. He was arrested by the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department on a misdemeanor aggravated unlicensed operation charge three weeks prior to the incident under review.
Randolph arrived at the Schenectady County Jail on Dec. 7 with swelling on the side of his face and a bruised right wrist, according to an injury report taken at the facility. He told corrections officers the injuries were delivered by police and cited the McDonald’s employee as a witness.
Sheriff’s department booking photos appear to show a red mark above Randolph’s forehead.
Randolph ultimately spent more than five days in jail before being released on his own recognizance.
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Categories: Schenectady County