Former Schenectady police officer John Hotaling is facing a lawsuit over his alleged actions during a road rage incident last year.
Jeffrey Arnow, who was giving his grandson a driving lesson when Hotaling sped around them and later confronted them at a traffic light, is suing for damages from “severe emotional distress.” His grandson, Nicholas Meisner, is also a party to the lawsuit.
Hotaling was accused of pointing his gun at Meisner and Arnow during the confrontation.The case was essentially dismissed in June in exchange for Hotaling resigning from the police department, being evaluated for anger management and doing 25 hours of community service. Hotaling has maintained he never took his gun out of its holster.
According to the lawsuit, the incident unfolded on Maple Avenue in Glenville around 3 p.m. on April 7, 2013. Meisner had just gotten his learner’s permit and lives on Maple Avenue. The lawsuit describes his trip down the street as “careful driving” with “adherence to the speed limit.”
Hotaling was “seemingly in a hurry and angered” by Meisner’s driving and tailgated him “in an apparent deliberate effort to force plaintiff Meisner to exceed the speed limit and/or force the plaintiff’s vehicle off the road,” according to the lawsuit. When Meisner didn’t speed up, Hotaling swerved around him, nearly forcing Meisner’s car off the road, the lawsuit said.
It also said Arnow had to grab the wheel to keep the car on the road.
Shortly thereafter, both cars stopped at a traffic light, and Hotaling got out of his car and approached Meisner’s door “in an enraged and highly threatening manner,” the lawsuit said. Arnow and another passenger, Matthew Arnow, got out of the car to protect Meisner, at which point Hotaling said, “I’ve got something for you,” walked back to his car and came back with a handgun, the lawsuit said.
“The defendant then raised the handgun and pointed it directly at the faces of plaintiff Jeffrey Arnow and non-party Matthew Arnow, threatening their lives,” the lawsuit said.
Arnow and Meisner are being represented by attorney Lance Hartwich, who filed the lawsuit Thursday in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County.