Outside investigators called in to look into alleged case of police brutality

By GARY LIBERATORE

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - 39 year old Bradford Shanks of Oneonta says he lost his left eye in a stabbing 15 years ago and thought he was going to lose his right eye three weeks ago after being pulled over by Oneonta Police and allegedly beaten by one of the officers.

"I ain't robbed no bank, I ain't no murderer," Shanks told NEWSChannel 2 on Friday. "I don't need to get beaten over the head like that, I'm an ordinary citizen, just like everybody else."

Only, not many other people start to walk away from police officers as they're being questioned.

Bradford was pulled over by police around 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday, January 28 along Market Street in Oneonta. Bradford says he pulled into the parking lot of the Clinton Plaza shopping center.

Officers told him he was pulled over for talking on his cell phone. Bradford says he wasn't, and claims one of the two officers told him the cell phone violation he was going to get would be dropped, if he let them search his car.

He says he allowed them to search the car because he had nothing to hide. Although officers say they did find a quantity of marijuana in the vehicle. Shanks says they found the marijuana on him after he was brought into the police station.

Shanks says he was also told by police that he had an expired license, which he says he didn't. Shanks says he had been pulled over by this particular officer for no reason on three other occasions in the past, so he started to walk away from the officers toward the police station across the street so he could talk to a sergeant.

Shanks says he tripped on a snowbank and the one officer he says he has had problems with in the past put him in a lock hold. Shanks says the second officer and others who had since responded, jumped on top of him as well, and that money began falling out of his pants pocket, so he reached down to stuff it back in, and says that's when he was beaten in the head several times by that same officer he says he has had problems with in the past.

That officer is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller says he wants to get to the bottom of this case fast, and that is why the city has hired a well known outside investigator, retired deputy superintendent of the New York State Police to lead an independent investigation. The city also hired two other investigators to help him, so that the case can be resolved rather quickly. Miller says he should have a report from the investigative team within the next two weeks.

Oneonta Police Chief Joseph Redmond did not comment on the case or on the fact that the city has hired an independent team of investigators to look into the matter or on the statement by Shanks that he asked to be taken to the hospital and officers refused, giving him no first aid help during the five hours he was at the police station.

Shanks is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation for not having a valid driver's license. He's also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana as well as resisting arrest and harassment.

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