Oneonta Police chief retires following findings of brutality investigation

By WKTV News

ONEONTA, N.Y.(WKTV) - The Chief of the Oneonta Police has decided to retire, following an investigation into police brutality following a traffic stop by one of his officers.

Chief Joseph Redmond announced the decision following an Executive Session meeting of the Oneonta Common Council Monday night, where Investigator Joseph F. Loszynski, retired Deputy Superintendent of the Internal Affairs Bureau of the New York State Police released his findings into the allegations.

The mayor's office issued a public statement Tuesday morning saying the review of the handling of the case was complete to the point of initial conclusions.

Officer Michael Breen, who was on administrative leave, is now suspended without pay for 30 days. At that point, he can request a hearing. The matter has also been referred to the Otsego County District Attorney for any further action his office deems appropriate.

The investigation by Mr. Loszynski found that the Oneonta Police Department did not follow their established standard operating procedures surrounding an incident involving Bradford Shanks.

Shanks says an officer beat him in the head several times during a traffic stop. Shanks also says he had several run-ins with that officer in the past.

The review of the case states that additional interviews will be conducted and actions taken if warranted. Further, it states that there were repeated failure sin communication of the actions surrounding the incident and its aftermath to the Mayor and Common Council, who have ultimate authority over the Police Department.

After discussing the post incident conclusions with Chief Redmond, and the changes which will be required in departmental procedures, Chief Redmond has chosen to retire as of April 15, 2011. He will be on paid administrative leave until that time and will be available to support the transfer of leadership within the department.

"Joe Redmond has served the City of Oneonta with distinction for over 30 years and is to be thanked for his commitment to our citizens," Mayor Dick Miller said in a statement.

As of midnight on Tuesday, Lieutenant Dennis Nayor assumed responsibilities as Officer in Charge of the Department until a temporary chief is appointed, an activity that the city says could take up to as much as twelve months.

"The Oneonta Police Department is made up of individuals who have done a good job insuring the safety of our City," Mayor Miller said in a release. "while this is a sad day for Oneonta, it is also a new day. (we) are committed to providing the community not with a good police department, but a great police department. We are confident that the current officers and their continuing leadership will be pat of that group."

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