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Coroner says Police Chief interfered with his duties

By By GARY LIBERATORE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Herkimer County Coroner Dan Enea says Frankfort Village Police Chief Steven Conley grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into a room to talk to him, and also interfered with his duties as coroner.

Enea says the incident happened the morning of Wednesday December 30th, when he responded to a death of a female at an apartment above a bar on East Main Street in the Village of Frankfort. Enea says he asked the officer who was at the scene when he arrived which officer was in charge, so they could work together. Enea says that officer told him another officer that had left the scene that was in charge. Enea says eventually Chief Conley came in and got involved. Enea's attorney, Mark Wolber told WKTV Monday morning, "Chief Conley put his arm and hand on Dan's shoulder, grabbed him and pulled him into a room and said to him, 'you don't need to be talking to my officers like that, you're not going to be doing an autopsy, there was no foul play, you're not needed here.' Well, as the coroner, he's obligated to investigate this death."

Wolber says he is trying to get the Herkimer County District Attorney's office to file charges against Chief Conley, not only for grabbing Enea, but for interfering with his duties as coroner. Herkimer County District Attorney John Crandall says he is looking into the death investigation procedures followed the morning of that death investigation, but, as far as the grabbing incident, Crandall says he would need a sworn statement from Coroner Dan Enea in order to determine whether any criminal charges should be filed against the chief.

This is not the first time Frankfort Village Police Chief Steven Conley has been involved in controversy. He was part of an election night 2008 confrontation between Frankfort resident Harold Griffin and Frankfort Village Mayor Frank Moracco. Mayor Moracco filed assault charges against Griffin. Griffin was acquitted of all charges during his subsequent trial. In the trial, witnesses for the defense claimed that they saw Police Chief Conley hold Griffin from behind while others kicked and kneed him. Mark Wolber was also the attorney that represented Harold Griffin.

There is also another incident that is still pending, involving a separate confrontation between Chief Conley and Harold Griffin at the Stewart's Convenience Store in the Village of Frankfort in May of 2009. Griffin was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment. Motions on that case are due by January 30th.

So far, Police Chief Steven Conley has not returned our calls regarding this story. We also wanted to ask Frankfort Village Mayor Frank Moracco whether it is concerning to him to hear that his Village's Police Chief is accused of grabbing the County's Coroner and interfering with the duties of a Coroner, but he too has still not returned our calls.

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