UPD officers file suits against newspaper publisher for 2011 traffic stop video
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Three Utica Police Officers have filed defamation lawsuits against the Utica Phoenix newspaper and publisher Cassandra Harris-Lockwood.
According to the O'Connell and Aronowitz law firm, Officers Paul Paladino, Rob Pedulla and James Holt are bringing suit based on a December 2011 story written by Harris-Lockwood titled "UPD Caught on Tape," which the law firm says appeared in both the print and online editions of the Utica Phoenix.
The lawsuits allege that Harris-Lockwood and the newspaper intentionally portrayed a February 11, 2011 traffic stop in a manner that "misled viewers into believing the officers had planted evidence." The lawsuits also allege that a 30 minute dashboard camera recording of the traffic stop which the law firm claims "depicted that no evidence had been planted," was distributed only in a one minute and forty second segment online.
The officers, according to the law firm, claim the act was "willfully and maliciously" done and the suits have been filed in Supreme Court in Oneida County, seeking "substantial damages."
Speaking over the phone, Cassandra Harris-Lockwood said that the suit was filed against her, but not the newspaper. She said that she will be waiting until counsel is consulted before issuing any type of statement or comment.