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What you need to know for 12/17/2017

Officer testifies in shooting captured on Facebook Live

Officer testifies in shooting captured on Facebook Live

Central issue for defense concerns duffel bag; suspect continues to use walker as result
Officer testifies in shooting captured on Facebook Live
Anthony Logan, 23, leaves during a break in testimony Wednesday in Schenectady County Court.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — A court hearing Wednesday included an officer's account of the June police shooting on Mumford Street that was captured on Facebook Live by a bystander.

Schenectady police Officer Jonathan Haigh arrived first — in response to a call about domestic violence — with his partner, Officer Douglas Smith. 

Haigh stayed throughout the incident, at times shouting to Anthony Logan, before — according to police accounts — Logan made a sudden movement with something in his hand and four other officers opened fire, wounding Logan twice. He survived.

"He told me that he had a gun," Haigh testified during Logan's pre-trial hearing Wednesday. "I told him not to play games with us."

Haigh then described how Logan's quick motion — visible on the Facebook Live video captured by the bystander — precipitated gunfire from officers around the building.

"It was very fast," Haigh said, referring to Logan's movement. 

An investigation that included examination of the Facebook Live video cleared the involved officers of any wrongdoing.

Wednesday's pre-trial hearing concerned the multiple charges Logan, 23, now faces in connection with the incident, including a parole violation. He has been in custody since the June 5 shooting, though he spent more than two weeks at Albany Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. He continues to use a walker, as a result of the shooting.

Judge Joseph C. Teresi referenced Logan's health status when he granted a defense request to remove Logan's handcuffs for the hearing, so he could take notes.

A central issue for the defense concerns a duffel bag seen tossed into an apparently vacant building next door early on in the June 5 incident. Officers found a sawed-off rifle inside that bag, resulting in the most serious charges against Logan — the only two felonies. All other charges he faces are misdemeanors.

LOGANhearing1.jpg

Logan's attorney, Brendan Keller, argued police illegally entered the neighboring building to take the bag without a warrant, so the gun should be eliminated as evidence.

To prevail in that argument, Keller must show that Logan still had a claim to the tossed bag after it was thrown to the other building. Keller said the fact that the vacant property was most recently owned by Logan's late mother is key to his argument.

Prosecutors argued Logan abandoned the bag in a vacant building.

Haigh, who told a fellow officer to recover the bag during the incident, testified that police wanted to know what was in the bag because its contents could have shed light on what was happening inside Logan's apartment. At that point, officers had yet to make contact with anyone inside.

Teresi is to rule on the issue.

Haigh and Smith were the first to respond on June 5 to a call from the father of a woman who was at the 535 Mumford St. apartment. The caller said he had just picked up his granddaughter from the apartment, and she told him a man had choked her mother inside, Haigh testified.

The officers met the caller outside and knocked on the second-floor apartment door, but they got no response. They listened and heard nothing.

Haigh and Smith also recognized the building because they had responded to a police call there — also involving Logan — weeks earlier, Haigh said. During the earlier incident, they learned Logan was on parole for a weapons conviction, he added.

The caller tried to reach his daughter by cellphone several more times while Haigh and Smith investigated, but he got no answer. A third officer arrived and moved around the rear of the house. An officer then saw a man peeking out from a window in the apartment before tossing the duffel bag across the alley and into the neighboring house, Haigh testified.

The neighboring house, 533 Mumford St., appeared vacant, Haigh said. The front door was wide open, and he saw dust and cobwebs inside. 

Keller asked Haigh why police didn't wait to seize the bag. Haigh said police had yet to hear from anyone inside the apartment and that, for all they knew, there could have been a bloody knife in the bag.

More officers arrived, and a public address system was used in an attempt to contact occupants of the apartment. Logan soon appeared alone, Haigh said. 

The woman soon stuck her head out, too.

"She appeared — she was hysterical," Haigh said. "She was crying, pleading for our help, asking for us to help her."

Haigh tried to get her attention, to tell her to go out the back of the apartment, but she couldn't. Logan eventually allowed her to leave out the front door. The Facebook Live video shows her leaving about two minutes before officers fired.

No gun was found on the balcony or anywhere else in the apartment after the shooting.

Police have previously identified the four officers who fired as Nicholas Giardono, Timothy Rizzo, Douglas Smith and Detective Daniel McDonald.

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham confirmed in September that the evidence did not support any charges against the officers.

Police did not enter the apartment to pull Logan out for more than two hours, though family members implored police during the delay to get Logan help. Police have said they needed to ensure the house was safe before entering.

Police tried to send robots into the apartment, Haigh testified, but items in the house, including a couch, blocked their access to Logan and the porch.

In addition to the two felony weapons possession counts, Logan faces two misdemeanor menacing counts "by displaying what appeared to be" a weapon toward police officers. He also faces misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment and criminal obstruction of breathing counts related to the incident that prompted the initial police call.

The indictment also includes criminal contempt, witness tampering and criminal solicitation counts, all misdemeanors. Those charges accuse Logan of trying to convince a witness to refuse to testify.

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