Oneonta Police Officer says he did not use excessive force in traffic stop


ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was in February when we brought you the story of Bradford Shanks, the Oneonta man pulled over by police who says he was brutally beaten by an Oneonta Police Officer.

On Monday, more than two months later, that police officer, Michael Breen, stood on the steps of Oneonta's City Hall with his attorney and his family behind them, to give his side of the story.

Officer Breen has been suspended with pay pending the investigation. His attorney, Elmer Robert Keach III, says the force used was not excessive, that Breen did what he had to in order to protect himself.

Keach says Shanks, after being pulled over and found driving with a suspended license decided to flee, and that when Officer Breen caught up with Shanks, Shanks put his hand in his pocket and the officer did what he had to to protect his life. Keach says Breen did not punch him in the head as Shanks has said happened.

Besides his belief that the force used was justified, Breen's attorney says former Oneonta Police Chief Joseph Redmond who retired in March during this investigation, actually had it out for Breen, because he says Breen's fiance, who was an intern at the police department witnessed the former chief sexually harass at least two different people in the police department.

Breen's attorney says Breen's fiance was questioned during a city investigation, but the chief was cleared of the sexual harassment allegations. However, Attorney Keach says that as soon as Chief Redmond was cleared, the Chief came up to Breen and said, "I'm going to get you."

So far, we have not been able to reach former Chief Joseph Redmond to get his reaction to these comments from Breen's attorney.

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller would not comment on whether he knew whether there were prior sexual harassment allegations against their former chief. Miller says Redmond retired simply to retire, that he had been thinking about it for a while.

Miller says the next step in the process is for the Oneonta Common Council to select a hearing officer who will oversee the hearings regarding Officer Breen's future with the police department. That selection will be made Tuesday night's Common Council meeting.

Miller says an investigation led by a former state police investigator found that the proper procedures were not followed during the traffic stop of Bradford Shanks, but so far the details of the report created by that external investigation have not been released.

Those hearings regarding Officer Breen's future with the Oneonta Police Department are expected to begin in June.

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