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What you need to know for 07/26/2017

Accuser to Glenville judge: Reject cop’s plea

Accuser to Glenville judge: Reject cop’s plea

Suspended city police detective John Hotaling is expected to be in Glenville Town Court this evening
Accuser to Glenville judge: Reject cop’s plea
Glenville residents Jeff Arnow and grandson Nick Mesner both allege a Schenectady police officer pointed a gun at Arnow during a road rage incident.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Suspended city police detective John Hotaling is expected to be in Glenville Town Court this evening where his menacing case could be resolved with a plea deal.

But one of his accusers said Monday he intends to be there as well to urge the judge in the case to reject the proposal.

Jeffrey Arnow, the Glenville grandfather who says Hotaling pointed a gun at him and his son during a road-rage incident last year, said he believes what happened to them is “being pushed to the side of the road” and that the offer means Hotaling is getting favorable treatment.

“He pulled a gun,” Arnow told The Daily Gazette Monday at his Glenville home. “He pulled a gun. He could have killed us. He was shaky. It could have went off, discharged.”

Hotaling was charged with two counts of misdemeanor menacing as a result of the April 2013 incident. He is to be in court this evening to accept an offer from the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office that would resolve the case.

He would attend anger-management classes, perform community service and retire from the Schenectady Police Department, special prosecutor Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III said earlier this month.

Murphy also contended that they were treating Hotaling like any other defendant with no prior record. The requirement for him to resign is something they don’t normally require, he said.

Murphy could not be reached for comment Monday.

Hotaling is being represented by attorney Andrew Safranko. He declined to comment on the case Monday.

Judges generally must approve of plea deals for them to become final. It was unclear Monday if Glenville Justice Paul Davenport, who is presiding over the case, has formally approved it.

But Arnow said he intends to urge Davenport to reject it. Arnow believes a jury should decide the case.

“I’m going to tell the judge that we are totally unsatisfied with this,” Arnow said.

Arnow said he is also unhappy with the prosecutor’s handling of the case. Saratoga County is handling the case because the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office had a conflict.

Hotaling is accused getting into an argument with Arnow and his son, who were occupants of another car on Maple Avenue in Glenville on April 7, 2013. It ended with Hotaling being accused of returning to his truck, grabbing his gun and pointing it at them.

Arnow’s grandson, Nick Meisner, was also there, but remained in the car during the confrontation.

The confrontation began as a driving dispute, authorities have said. Hotaling allegedly passed the Arnows’ car in what was described as an aggressive manner. Arnow responded by reaching over and honking the horn and making a gesture. The gesture has previously been described as obscene, but Arnow said Monday it was not.

Then, when stopped at a red light, Hotaling got out of his vehicle; Arnow and his son, Matthew Arnow, also got out and the confrontation ensued.

Meisner, now 18, was learning to drive that day and was at the wheel when the incident began. Meisner also said Monday that he is not happy with the plea deal.

“I think he’s kind of getting off easy,” Meisner said. “If any of us did anything like that, it would be a much worse punishment.”

Jeffrey Arnow said he sees the incident as “another tarnished spot” on the Schenectady Police Department. The one bright spot, he said, was the internal investigation that led to Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett moving to fire Hotaling.

Those proceedings were called off earlier this month after Hotaling moved to retire.

Bennett said Monday that the department has received formal confirmation that Hotaling has submitted his paperwork to retire effective June 30. If that stands, Bennett said, there will be no need for the internal disciplinary hearing because Hotaling will no longer be a member of the department.

Bennett has said the internal investigation led him to believe the Arnow family’s account of the incident and to push for Hotaling to no longer be with the department.

Hotaling was suspended without pay for the month after the incident. He has been on paid suspension since and will remain so until his retirement date.

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