Schenectady County

Rotterdam police say officers did not use excessive force

Rotterdam police investigators determined there was no excessive use of force exerted by two officer

Town police investigators determined there was no excessive use of force exerted by two officers and a sergeant following a traffic stop on Greenpoint Avenue last month.

Deputy Chief William Manikas said four independent witnesses claimed Kenneth West Jr. was beligerent during the traffic stop, thereby justifying his forceful arrest by officers Jeffrey Amoroso and Vincent Stone.

Those witnesses also disputed claims by West’s mother, Lisa West, that Sgt. Robert Denny choked her during her son’s arrest, Manikas said Tuesday.

“The officers, all three of them, have been exonerated in the claim of excessive use of force,” he said. “The use of force was reasonable and consistent with department guidlines and regulations.”

Manikas said one of the three admitted to using profanity during the arrest and will be disciplined internally. He declined to name the officer.

Attempts to reach the Wests were unsuccessful this afternoon. The complaint was filed last week by Fred Clark, vice president of Schenectady’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Though both West and her son are white, the NAACP became involved because the organization helps victims of police actions to file grievances.

Clark wasn’t surprised by the police department’s findings and said the Wests are exploring a lawsuit against the department. He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was alerted to the complaint and has launched its own probe into the incident.

“There’s still another investigation to go,” he said.

The complaint stems from a Feb. 14 arrest involving Kenneth West, who was flagged by Amoroso after he rolled through a stop sign in front of his family’s home. After arguing with Amoroso, West claims he was ordered out of his car and then tackled by Stone, who arrived on the scene as backup.

At some point during the altercation, Lisa West claimed she was approached by Denny, who had also been called to the scene. She said Denny grabbed her by the throat and pushed her away from the officers trying to arrest her son.

Police records show Kenneth West was charged with misdemeanor obstructing justice, as well as disorderly conduct, failing to produce a license and disobeying a stop sign, all violations. He was later charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

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