Ithaca Police Sergeant Kevin Slattery has been suspended for confessing on camera to using excessive force years ago and joking about evidence tampering. The Ithaca Police Department (IPD) and City of Ithaca claim that his comments were fictitious. After reviewing the body camera footage we are not so sure and think that calling it fictitious seems to be the only way to get away with doing what Sgt. Slattery admits to doing on camera.
In the video below we isolated the relevant portion of the footage released by the IPD. In that footage Sgt. Slattery can be heard telling a fellow officer a story about himself assaulting a man that he had just taken a DNA sample from a few minutes earlier. He says that he responded to some sort of disturbance where that man was in a room with easy access to a long gun in plain view. He said that he didn't want him to have access to the gun so he pinned him against a wall, suplexed him, took him to the ground, struck him with his knees several times, struck him in the neck, and handcuffed him. Then he says that the subject went dead weight and refused to move when officers tried to move him to the back seat of a patrol car. At that point Sgt. Slattery claims that he and a fellow officer grabbed both of his feet and "bounced him all the way down the stairs." Slattery's comments then turned to the DNA collection where jokingly talked about screwing with the suspect by saying "sealing it, we have to put in all the evidence first." The other officer can then be overheard saying that you really should let the suspect handle the sample and put it in the container so that you can't be accused of tampering with it, but then he says "with him asking questions at the end, I pry would have did it." Then Sgt. Slattery appears to realize his body camera is on, says "oh, hold up," and turns the camera off.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and IPD Chief Dennis Nayor released a joint statement saying, "the Sergeant's apparently-fictitious comments remain entirely inappropriate and unacceptable." Chief Nayor added "I immediately ordered a thorough investigation and placed the involved member
on suspension from duty." We hope that Nayor's department does in fact conduct a thorough investigation into the incident in which Slattery claims to have dragged a man down the stairs feet first. There are ways that officers are trained to deal with passive resistance such as a person going dead weight and forcing officers to move them. Such ways include grabbing the subject by the arms and dragging them head first so that the only parts of their body that is dragged are their feet. We think that Slattery's admission sounds like more than a joke, but at the same time we concede that the subsequent comment about the DNA evidence sounds more like a joke. Slattery's demeanor changes from what sounds like an honest admission of "I f*cked him up one night, years ago" to chuckling and joking about putting evidence in with the DNA sample.