GLOVERSVILLE -- A city resident with a cell phone video of his arrest is alleging the New York State Police used excessive force when they pulled him out of his car after he refused to get out unless they told him why he was pulled over.
Timothy Bovee was arrested at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday during a two-day, multi-agency police drug crackdown, the second "multi-agency crime prevention initiative" performed by state troopers with the Gloversville police since September.
Bovee said he owns a small "home maintenance" business where he does landscaping and repair work at homes. He said he was on his way to work to do a "moss treatment" on a roof when a state police cruiser began following him around the area of Pine Street.
"He immediately did a U-turn and at that point ... I told my buddy 'Hey, just hold onto my phone,'" he said.
Bovee's friend recorded his encounter with the state police officer and his arrest. The video has since been released onto social media and to TV stations and The Daily Gazette.
The video shows Bovee saying, "I have no idea how this is going to work out, this is stupid [expletive]" to his friend before beginning to talk to the state police officer who pulled him over. State Police Public Information Officer Kerra Burns identified the officer who arrested Bovee as "Trooper Darling." A request to state police for the trooper's first name was not answered.
"Did I do something wrong?" Bovee said to Darling.
"Do you always ask questions when somebody walks up?" Darling asked him.
"Well, yeah, when I get pulled over, you're right," Bovee responded.
"We'll start with your license and your registration."
"I don't have my license on me!"
"If you want to start this, shut the vehicle off, take your keys out and put them on the dash."
Bovee tossed his keys onto his dashboard and he and Darling exchanged a "thank you" and "you're welcome" before the incident escalated.
Darling ordered Bovee to "come out of the vehicle" and Bovee responded "For what? What did I do?" The trooper answered, "Last chance, sir" before speaking to Bovee's friend briefly, who appears to duck the camera during that exchange. The trooper then returned his attention to Bovee. Bovee told Darling he is going to "call his lawyer" and that the trooper will be in trouble if he touches him.
Darling then opened the car door and pulled Bovee out while Bovee gripped the car's steering wheel, demanding to know "what he did wrong."
Darling then slammed Bovee into his parked car and put him into a headlock before taking him to the ground face first.
Bovee's friend shouted, "Tim, stop resisting!" Bovee on the ground can be heard saying "I can't breathe!"
Bovee said he was ultimately charged with failure to yield or initiate his turn signal, 100 feet from an intersection, as well as resisting arrest and obstructing government administration.
Bovee said he's retained an Albany-based lawyer, Mark Sacco, who he said will represent his criminal defense against the charge and possibly a civil lawsuit against the state police.
Bovee admits that he has a criminal record. He said he was convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge in 2005 and in August he was charged by Fulton County sheriff's deputies with felony first-degree offering a false instrument. That charge stems from an allegation that he applied for $891 in Home Energy Assistance Program money he was not entitled to, he said.
He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree welfare fraud and petty larceny. He said he doesn't know how the state police could have known it was him behind the wheel of the green Chevy Tahoe he was driving, which he said he owns but is registered in his brother's name.
"They searched me about six times on-scene, and I kept telling them 'I don't have nothin,' I'm not a drug dealer, my trunk is full of tools.' They brought in dogs, they towed my vehicle, but in the end there was nothing," he said.
"I can only assume they were just guessing I was one of those guys who transports or sells drugs. I honestly don't know. I just know things haven't been good with the cops. I know the cops have been in our town for a couple of weeks now, and there have been a lot of negative things in terms of them harassing people."
On Tuesday Gloversville Police Chief Marc Porter released the results of the recent crime sweep. It included a news release that explained the strategy, which included coordinated efforts among the Sheriff's Department, Fulton County District Attorney's Office, state police and the Johnstown Police Department.
"In an effort to combat illegal activity and improve public safety, state and local law enforcement concentrated their resources within the city, with an emphasis on targeting the criminal element," Porter wrote in his release. "Crime-fighting strategies were developed which included, but were not limited to: enhanced surveillance and patrols in identified 'hot spots' or locations that have shown to be the most prone to criminal activity including narcotics trafficking and violence; focused deterrence against violent gangs and groups considered responsible for the most violence in the community."
According to Porter, law enforcement conducted approximately 105 traffic stops for vehicle and traffic law offenses Monday and Tuesday, resulting in 34 traffic tickets. A total of 14 drug-related arrests were made. Those arrests resulted in the seizure of more than $5,000. This is the second such sweep conducted by law enforcement in Gloversville this year.
State police spokesperson Burns confirmed that Trooper Darling was "operating as part of a criminal interdiction detail."
"The State Police is reviewing the incident," Burns said in a written statement. "Integrity is paramount at the New York State Police and any allegations of member misconduct are thoroughly investigated. Individuals found to have violated state law or Division policy will be held fully accountable."
Bovee said he wants "justice" for how he was treated. He said he is scheduled to be arraigned in Gloversville City Court Nov. 19.
"I have never resisted before, I've gotten several traffic tickets for not wearing my seat belt, and it's never led to this," he said.