Two Glenville residents have accused a Schenectady detective of pointing a gun at them during a road rage incident.
After a weeklong investigation, Glenville police charged Detective John Hotaling with two counts of menacing, a misdemeanor.
Hotaling, 45, of Glenville, has denied the charges, but Glenville police Lt. Stephen Janik said Hotaling admitted he got out of his car to confront the driver of another vehicle.
Hotaling was suspended without pay after his arrest, and Schenectady Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said the department is taking the allegations seriously.
“We sent a perfectly clear message over the last several years that we’re not going to tolerate any degree of misconduct,” he said, adding that he considers the accusations particularly serious because they rose “to the level of an arrest.”
The incident occurred April 7 on Maple Avenue. Matthew Arnow and his father, Jeffrey, were riding in a car near their home on Maple Avenue when Hotaling passed them in a no-passing zone in what they termed an aggressive manner.
They responded by honking and made an obscene gesture, Janik said. Hotaling pulled ahead of them, then stopped at a red light. That’s when he got out of his car, the Arnows said. He was not wearing a police uniform.
The Arnows got out of their car, too, and there was a brief conversation, Janik said. Hotaling walked back to his car and came back with a gun, the Arnows claim.
Matthew Arnow pulled out his cellphone and called 911, telling the dispatcher a man was pointing a gun at him. As he tried to read the license plate, Hotaling got back in his car and drove away.
The Arnows pursued him to the next intersection, when the dispatcher told them to stop following and come to the police station.
With the partial plate number the Arnows provided, Janik said police were able to quickly identify Hotaling’s car. They called him, and he voluntarily came to the department, where he admitted to confronting the Arnows verbally, Janik said.
“He does not admit to pointing a gun at anyone,” Janik said.
Police interviewed three witnesses to the incident — a relative in the Arnows’ car and two others they found by canvassing the area. Janik said the officers’ goal was to gather enough evidence to either prove or disprove the accusation.
“We didn’t get enough evidence to disprove the incident,” he said. “We have obtained the tape from the 911 call. It’s clear on the tape a male has just pointed a gun at him [Matthew Arnow] and his father.”
He added that Hotaling could still argue his innocence in court.
“This is what the criminal justice system is all about,” he said.