C.O. testifies he was shunned by colleagues after telling what he saw

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The assault trial of a local correction officer wrapped up Thursday without the officer ever taking the stand and telling his side of the story.

Jurors, though, did hear from some correction officers Thursday in the trial of fellow C.O., Michael Wehby.

On the stand, Corrections Officer James Alley discussed how other officers treated him once he came forward about what he saw the day Wehby allegedly beat inmate Jose Rivera.

Alley was still on the witness stand at Noon on Thursday continuing his testimony he began the day prior. Alley was an eyewitness to part of the scuffle at the center of the charges against Wehby.

Alley testified that after he told the Department of Corrections Inspector General that he saw C.O. Wehby stomp on Rivera's head after Wehby and two other Corrections Officers had already subdued him, his fellow officers shunned him at work.

"My locker had been dumped and 'rat' had been written on it in big letters," says Alley.

Alley went out on stress leave for a year, then retired, saying he no longer felt safe on the job.

"The only security in the facility is your fellow officers. When they all turn against you, you have none," says Alley.

Alley also testified that when he got on to the employee shuttle, 30 other Corrections Officers got off. The defense suggested that the shunning of Alley was the result of his failure to help a fellow Corrections Officer regarding an inmate in the psychiatric ward two weeks prior.

Also on the witness stand Thursday-former Midstate Correction Officer Joseph LaTour, who gave a different account of events from Alley. LaTour said the 'blue line' in law enforcement only exists in the movies.

"Would you agree with the statement that corrections officers generally stick together?" asked Prosecutor Kurt Hameline.

"No," replied LaTour.

LaTour also testified that when Wehby told the inmate to 'come here', the inmate approached the C.O. with a threatening stance.

"As he got close to the officer, his arms were outstretched and his chest was puffed out," says LaTour, adding that the officer put up his hand as if to say 'close enough' and that the inmate slapped away the officer's hand.

Closing arguments are 9:30 Friday morning. After closings, the judge will talk to the jury about the law and deliberations and then they will get the case.

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