A Saratoga County sheriff’s deputy with a controversial past was suspended without pay Saturday as the department investigates his conduct during a Friday traffic stop.
The behavior of Sgt. Shawn Glans was captured in a video, “New York Deputy Slaps Citizen for Not Allowing him to Search Car,” posted on YouTube that has since gone viral.
“I’m kind of very disturbed with what I saw in the video,” Sheriff Michael Zurlo said. “I’m not going to condone this type of activity as the video portrayed. I’m going to look into this and I’m going to act accordingly — quickly and swiftly — with regards to this.”
The sheriff’s office did not release the name of the deputy, but the YouTube page containing the video, as well as other media outlets, identified him as Glans, 48, a 27-year police officer. Zurlo declined to comment further or confirm the identity of the deputy because the investigation is ongoing.
“It’s a personnel matter, and personnel matters are kept private at this point,” he said.
The sheriff’s office issued a news release Saturday morning saying it learned of the video Friday night. The video “appeared to show an inappropriate interaction between an on-duty member of the Sheriff’s Office and a civilian during a roadside interview resulting from a suspicious vehicle complaint in the town of Halfmoon in the early hours of November 7th,” the release said.
Friday’s incident is not Glans’ first brush with controversy. On March 28, 1996, while patrolling on Smith Bridge Road in the town of Wilton at about 10 p.m., Glans lost control of his cruiser and crashed head-on into a vehicle driven by 45-year-old Douglas McEachron, leaving the father of six paralyzed. Glans was traveling at least double or possibly three times the speed limit of 20 mph when he crossed into the westbound lane and hit McEachron’s 1989 Chevrolet, according to court records.
Saratoga County and the town of Wilton were held responsible in 1999 for the crash in a $60 million federal lawsuit filed by McEachron, but terms of a settlement reached after the verdict were not released, though sources said McEachron would receive millions of dollars.
Friday’s video was taken by a man who witnessed his friend’s encounter with Glans. In the video, the young man argues against having his car searched after Glans saw a .22-caliber rifle in the back seat.
“We’ll get a [expletive] search warrant,” Glans says in the video.
“I wasn’t in my car when all this was happening,” the young man says. “Like, why don’t you want to search, like, my house or something.”
“Let me see your [expletive] keys,” says Glans, his frustration apparently growing.
“Why?” the young man asks. “You can’t do that.”
“Because we’re searching your [expletive] car, that’s why,” Glans says.
Glans then asks if the driver wants to resist arrest before apparently slapping him in the face, which is heard but not seen because the camera is pointed down momentarily.
Glans could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The suspension was effective immediately, pending the outcome of the investigation and possible disciplinary action, the Sheriff’s Office said in the release.
“We wish to thank the members of the community who brought this to light and cooperated fully with the investigation,” the release said.
A Facebook page called “Arrest Saratoga Sheriff Sgt. Shawn Glans” was created Saturday and quickly amassed more than 1,000 likes.
“We believe that criminal charges should be filed against Sgt. Shawn Glans,” the page’s description reads. “Mr. Glans is under investigation and suspension [without pay]. It is not enough.”
The man in the video has not filed a criminal complaint, the sheriff’s office said.