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Schenectady council committee approves excessive force settlement

Schenectady council committee approves excessive force settlement

The vote occurred during executive session
Schenectady council committee approves excessive force settlement
Schenectady Police Department.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SCHENECTADY  — City Council members voted to settle an excessive force lawsuit at its Claims Committee meeting on Monday night.

The vote took place during an executive session and was confirmed by independent Councilman Vince Riggi. He declined to say how much the city will pay out.

Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico declined to comment on the settlement, as did city Police Chief Eric Clifford.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District after then-25-year-old Christian Baez was arrested in 2014, naming then-police officers Joseph Lima and Jonathan Moore. The lawsuit also names two John Doe’s, claiming they also work for the city.

The case was dismissed on Feb. 28, according to court records.

In the lawsuit, Baez said officers used excessive force by hitting him with a baton-like object before and after being handcuffed “without warning or provocation.”

Baez claimed he never tried to hit any of the officers.

This all occurred after a car accident led to a fight during the early morning hours of May 3, 2014. Police went to break up the fight, but were then surrounded and attacked by a group of people, leaving one officer injured, according to court record.

Police arrested three people that evening, including Baez, who was charged with one count each of inciting a riot, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Baez spent one night in jail before being released on bail.

The charge of inciting a riot was withdrawn by prosecutors and his disorderly conduct charge was dismissed. Baez was then acquitted of the other two charges, according to the lawsuit.

The full council will vote on whether to officially settle the lawsuit on March 26.

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