Saratoga Springs police are speculating a Malta man, who allegedly shoved a woman’s head against a wall, injured himself while fleeing from police early Saturday.
Daryl Mount Jr., 21, was still being treated for life-threatening injuries Monday at Albany Medical Center, the result, police believe, of falling from scaffolding at the end of a foot chase about 3 a.m. Saturday. Police don’t know for sure, though, because they briefly lost sight of him before he was discovered unconscious in a small alley off Putnam Street, where police suspect he ended up after falling from adjacent scaffolding, according to a report released Monday afternoon by Police Chief Greg Veitch.
Officers began chasing Mount, Veitch said, after he was seen shoving a woman he knew into a brick wall near the corner of Caroline Street and Broadway, an action that was captured by nearby surveillance cameras. Police pursued Mount south on Broadway, where he ran into an alley on the north side of the new Washington Building, which houses the Northshire Bookstore. Running down the alley, which ends with a wooden barrier, police fired their Taser devices, but both attempts failed to hit him, based on the recovery of the fired probes.
The full statement by Police Chief Greg Veitch is available on the Around Saratoga blog.
At the rear of the building, Veitch said Mount climbed over a railing that allowed him to get behind the wooden barrier and gave him access to the scaffolding at the back of the building, where construction is ongoing. An officer attempted to pursue him, but was slowed by posts, beams and a lack of light. Police also noted the area was wet from rain earlier Friday.
As many as five officers were engaged in the search and more were responding, according to Veitch. Officers covered the southern side of the Washington Building and some took the alley next to Lillian’s restaurant, Gardner Lane, to go to Putnam Street, both possible escape routes for Mount.
The officer who followed Mount through the scaffolding was the first to discover him, lying on the ground in an alley between Gaffney’s Restaurant and Izumi. The officer was able to use a stairway attached to Gaffney’s, which is adjacent to the scaffolding, to reach the alley.
Veitch said officers initially handcuffed Mount, but after realizing the extent of his injuries, they took off the handcuffs. First responders from the Saratoga Springs Fire Department provided medical care on the scene, which required cutting away Mount’s clothing. He was then taken to Albany Medical Center, where he remains.
In the report released Monday, Veitch said police could only “speculate” that Mount jumped or fell from the scaffolding to evade police. The drop from the scaffolding to the alley is about 20 feet.
During the search, a witness was questioned and recalled hearing a thud but didn’t see anyone running. Veitch said there was also no video evidence of the pursuit, beyond the initial stages, or in the construction area where Mount fell.
Mount’s family retained attorney William Montgomery III, a former Warren County district attorney, to help determine how Mount was injured. Montgomery said the family has been concerned by the narrative of events from police, which they feel keeps changing.
He added there is a witness who saw a police officer near Mount while he was on the scaffolding. Montgomery wouldn’t elaborate on what the witness saw, but said the witness hadn’t contacted police because he fears retribution.
Veitch said no one has said they witnessed officers injuring Mount, which was echoed by a Gaffney’s employee working Saturday morning, who said Monday police found Mount on the ground in critical condition.
“If there is someone out there who [witnessed police abuse], I will personally take their statement and investigate their claims,” Veitch said at a Monday news conference.
Montgomery said Mount’s family will request an independent investigation.
no charges yet
Mount has not been charged with any crimes, which Veitch said could include attempted assault and resisting arrest. He said charges were pending Mount’s recovery.
“It’s most important that he gets medical care, to the extent that he can. … That’s the only reason charges have not been formally filed at this point,” Veitch said.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department has a history with Mount, who was charged in the summer of 2011 in a rash of thefts in the city. He served time in jail for those crimes, but Veitch wouldn’t comment on the past conviction.
“We’ve had police contact with Mr. Mount before … but that has nothing to do with the present situation,” he said.
Veitch added the woman who was allegedly struck by Mount knew him and didn’t suffer serious injuries. He said she was not cooperating with police.
None of the officers involved in the pursuit has been suspended and all remain on active duty, according to Veitch.