Saratoga County

Claim filed in Ballston Spa Taser death

Ballston Spa police fatally injured 43-year-old Daniel Satre while Saratoga County sheriff’s deputie

Ballston Spa police fatally injured 43-year-old Daniel Satre while Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies watched late last summer, according to a notice of claim filed against the village and county last month.

The precursor to a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Satre’s daughter, Amanda Gerstenmaier of Randolph, Vermont, alleges a group of yet-to-be-named officers from the village police physically injured Satre “in such a manner that he experienced pain and suffering and death.”

The five-page filing also alleged several members of the Sheriff’s Department watched the assault while they “stood in close proximity,” but failed to intercede on Satre’s behalf.

The claim filed in state Supreme Court of Saratoga County accuses the county and village of failing to adequately hire, train, employ, supervise and discipline the individuals involved in the Sept. 20 incident. It also alleges the village and county “knew or should have known of the officers’ propensity for the conduct that caused [Satre’s] pain, suffering and death.”

The claim alleges that Satre was denied due process and the civil rights afforded to him under the state and U.S. Constitution. The claim filed by attorney Terrance Kindlon on Feb. 17 requests monetary damages, but does not specify an amount.

County Attorney Stephen Dorsey said the case has been referred to the county’s insurance carrier. He declined to comment on the allegations made in the notice, citing the pending litigation.

“The county intends to vigorously defend itself from the claim,” he said Monday.

A village official contacted about the claim did not return a call for comment.

Satre was confronted by Ballston Spa police a short distance from his home at 130 Saratoga Ave. after they received a call from a motorist claiming to be obstructed by a screaming man standing in the middle of the road. Responding officers claim Satre became combative and fought with them as they tried to take him into custody.

An additional eight officers arrived, including some from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and the state police. Satre was struck with a Taser four times before being handcuffed.

While authorities were taking Satre into custody, he became unresponsive. Officers tried to resuscitate him at the scene, but he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at Albany Medical Center Hospital shortly after midnight the next morning.

Satre’s official cause of death has not been released by authorities to the public or his family, though more than five months hav elapsed since his death. The case is under review by the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, but no new details have been released.

“There is no new information I can disclose publicly at this time,” prosecutor Karen Heggen said Monday.

Gerstenmaier, who was living with Satre at the time, previously said she spoke to her father on the phone less than an hour before his encounter with police and that he sounded calm. She also indicated her father wasn’t on any medication and had no health conditions.

Family members claim Satre suffered significant injuries at the hands of police. They’ve also asked the state Attorney General’s Office to conduct an independent investigation into his death, but have since had their correspondences referred to Heggen’s office.

An online petition calling for an independent investigation into Satre’s death has garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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