Oneonta Mayor: Allegations against former Police Chief are false

By WKTV News

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Oneonta Mayor Richard Miller says recent allegations that administrative charges against an officer accused of police brutality were retaliation by the police chief are just not true.

Officer Michael Breen had been accused of brutally beating a man named Bradford Shanks during a traffic stop in Oneonta earlier this year. Breen has been suspended with pay pending the investigation.

Last week, Officer Breen's attorney, Elmer Robert Keach III, claimed that not only was the force Breen used against Shanks justified, but that now retired police Chief Joseph Redmond had it out for Breen.

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.

Mayor 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.

The attorney also claimed a one time intern at the police department, who is now Officer Breen's fiance, had witnessed the former chief sexually harass two different people at the department and was questioned about it when a city investigation arose.

Although Chief Redmond was cleared of the sexual harassment allegations, Attorney Keach claimed that as soon as Chief Redmond was cleared, the Chief came up to Breen and said, "I'm going to get you."

Mayor Miller responded to those accusations Thursday morning saying:

"allegations have been made that the City's charges against officer Michael Breen were a retaliatory step initiated by now retired Chief Joseph Redmond. These allegations are false," Miller said. "in fact, Chief Redmond did not recommend the administrative charges before or after his retirement. The administrative charges were preferred by me, as Mayor, with the advice and concurrence of the City's attorneys and Common Council. They were based solely on the circumstances surrounding, and subsequent investigation of, the incident on January 28. As has been previously stated, Chief Redmond served the department with distinction for over 30 years, and retired from it in good standing."

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

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