SARATOGA SPRINGS — As promised, the city’s letter to Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen asking her to impanel a grand jury to investigate the 2014 death of Darryl Mount Jr. has gone out to the prosecutor.
Mayor Ron Kim’s letter to the DA is dated Tuesday, seven days after the City Council unanimously authorized Kim to send it.
Heggen, who has said she won’t comment on the request until she receives the letter, did not immediately return a message Friday.
The letter asks Heggen to investigate whether any city officers engaged in wrongdoing, and to probe further into the fact that former Police Chief Greg Veitch, while still working for the department, lied to a reporter by suggesting an internal investigation had been conducted on the case. The former chief later admitted under oath during a deposition that the case had not been investigated internally.
In an interview, Kim said state law allows a DA to convene a grand jury to investigate matters that are worth exploring, even if the DA doesn’t suspect that criminal charges would emerge as a result of the probe. There’s no time limit on convening the grand jury, he said.
Ultimately, the council wants the DA to issue a report that says what the investigation resulted in, Kim said.
“I’m not prejudging this,” Kim said. “I don’t know what happened. But that’s exactly the problem. We don’t know what happened.”
Mount, who was biracial, was severely injured following a chase with police on Aug. 31, 2013. Mount spent nine months in a coma before he died.
Saratoga Springs police have said Mount climbed scaffolding and fell. But, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, alleging his injuries weren’t consistent with a fall.
Questions about the city Police Department’s handling of the case has been a source of discontent among racial justice protesters.
Kim’s letter reads: “As you are no doubt aware, serious concerns regarding the handling of the Darryl Mount case have been the subject of numerous public protests in the City of Saratoga Springs over the last several years. The residents of our City — and the professional, dedicated members of our Police Department — deserve to have this matter thoroughly and dispassionately investigated in order to re–establish public trust in our uniformed services. You are the only public officer with original jurisdiction to perform such an investigation.”
Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, said he will offer an oral presentation about the Mount investigation in February.
Montagnino and Kim are half of the four newly-elected Democrats on the five-member council who took office on Jan. 1.
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or (518) 419-9766.
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Categories: Saratoga County