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Cleared man questions treatment by Schenectady police

Cleared man questions treatment by Schenectady police

'They should have came and asked me, because I didn't run'
Cleared man questions treatment by Schenectady police
Roger Brooks in the gray shirt and hat he wore Thursday when police were investigating a gun report.
Photographer: Steven Cook

SCHENECTADY — A city man quickly cleared of wrongdoing after detectives investigating a report of an individual with a gun tackled him Thursday afternoon is now questioning his treatment by officers.

Roger Brooks, 47, says detectives tackled him without warning after a suspect description similar to him, including similar clothing, came over their scanners.

Brooks wasn't involved in the gun case, something he said police soon realized, but he said he suffered a deep chest bruise treated at Ellis Hospital as a result of the tackle and being held to the ground as they investigated.

He also alleges that police briefly detained him after clearing him in the gun case to check for warrants, and that detectives denied a request for medical assistance afterward. He sought help on his own. Brooks intends to speak with city officials soon, as well as an attorney.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon about 3 p.m. near the corner of McClellan and Bradley streets at the Dairy Market store.

Police received a call about a man inside the store with a gun. The report sent area schools into lockout. After an investigation, police determined the report to be unfounded, the result of a language issue.

While the call came in as a man with a gun, the caller ended up only saying he believed a man had a gun and never saw one, police said. No one was charged.

As they investigated, though, they got the description and spotted Brooks.

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford confirmed Friday that detectives tackled Brooks, but noted that Brooks fit the description "to a T." Detectives believed Brooks heard that description and contend that Brooks responded by making movements away.

The detectives then responded with surprise to subdue a man who possibly had a gun, Clifford said. The chief also said the detectives say Brooks made no request for medical attention and did not indicate that he was hurt.

No complaint had been filed with the department as of Friday, Clifford said. If one is filed, Clifford said it will be investigated, including the timing of the warrant check, by the department's office of professional standards accordingly.

Officers and detectives must complete a "use of force" form when they use force on a subject. Clifford said he was told those forms have been filed.

There is a city street camera at the intersection. Patrol cars also have cameras in them. Officers wear microphones, but detectives do not. It was unclear what was captured.

The detectives involved happened to be working in the area and responded to the scene, Clifford said.

Brooks said he went to the Dairy Market to get a beer after coming from his son's house Thursday. He entered and saw the clerk and another man having what he described as a few words. Brooks got his beer, paid for it and left.

The man speaking with the clerk, Brooks said, wore gray like Brooks did, though a darker gray.

Brooks then went outside to wait for the bus with his son-in-law.

Soon after, the police responded to the gun report. Brooks waited and watched what was happening. Police emptied the store and soon turned to Brooks after they heard the description over their radios.

He heard them note that he fit the description, and had a beer in his hand consistent with coming from the store.

"They rushed me, picked me up, put me on the ground, just treated me real [bad]," Brooks said.

He also believes one detective pointed a gun at him. They held him handcuffed on the ground, told him they had to check for a weapon. He estimated the entire incident, start to finish, lasted about five minutes, and then they let him up. He also alleged the second part came after he was cleared in the incident, as they said they then checked him for warrants.

Brooks said his son-in-law drove him to Ellis. He showed The Gazette hospital paperwork dated Thursday at 5:30 p.m. showing a diagnosis of a deep chest bruise. He also provided pictures of scrapes to his wrist from the handcuffs.

The detectives should have handled it differently, Brooks said. Such a suspect wouldn't have stuck around the scene, he contended.

"They should have came and asked me, because I didn't run," Brooks said. Police had already passed him and he stayed put. They could have also asked the clerk first, he said.

"That way, you wouldn't have had to throw the handcuffs on me, you wouldn't have had to throw me down on the ground, nothing," Brooks said. "He would have told you 'no.' "

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