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Location: Plattsburgh, New York, United States

Writog: writer-photographer.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Any Follow-Up After Letter Incident Comment?

Shouldn't we be getting our news through articles by reporters instead of comments by readers?

Below I have pasted a comment made to the Common Council back on November 1, 2012 by a Plattsburgh City resident upset with how he was being treated by the city police department.  The statement can be found at the Common Council meetings archives at the city website, www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov.  The direct link to the minutes that include the comment:  http://www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov/publicfiles/files/MINUTES%20110112.pdf .

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John Barry Retired from the Plattsburgh Police Department Westwood Drive said I’m here in reference to a recent incident, and I’ll try and keep this under 3 minutes actually, that happened. And I’m kind of concerned because it involved my name. I am just going to read a quick statement. In the spring of this year I was informed through a City Police office of an anonymous letter received by the City which accuses the Chief of misconduct. Soon after I was informed that the Chief was informing certain members of the agency and public that I wrote the anonymous letter. This was annoying to me since I did not write this letter. I assumed the letter would be investigated by the City and the original writer of the letter would be located and interviewed. After a while of not hearing anything about the letter so again I assumed the City investigated it and resolved the issue of the letter. I was apparently wrong though since last Saturday I was approached by Detective Matt Bell in a public place. This detective chose to question me about the letter and accuse me of writing this letter. Not only did he choose to do it in a public place but he did it in front of family members and friends. I was angry and annoyed and had to further explain the letter incident to family and friends that I did not write it. I also feel that the City is responsible for the incident since this was a city employee for the Police Department. He was interviewing me and making accusations to me about city business. At this time I’m asking the City of Plattsburgh to hire an independent investigator to look in to this anonymous letter received by the city so that maybe the original letter writer can be located and interviewed. I will fully cooperate with an independent investigator to give a sworn statement to what I know about this letter and any other matters. I will also provide a writing sample for comparison against the original letter and submit to a polygraph exam to show that I’m not responsible for this letter or if the original letter writer cannot be located. So in closing, I just want to make it clear that if I’m approached again by a City Police officer and questioned about this matter or if I hear that a city police officer is talking to a member of the public about this matter and using my name. I will pursue it as a legal matter.

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I did an online search of the Press-Republican online archives and found no mention of the above statement.  I only learned about it today by chance through a  comment at pressrepublican.com by a reader responding to a non-related news item involving a state trooper.  The commenter referenced the Common Council minutes, the date and who commented.  I followed up to verify the info.

Questions remain.  What is the alleged misconduct?  Any truth to it?  Is an independent investigator looking into the matter?

Instead of letting rumors fly, it's in the city's best interests to publicly respond to this matter.  Citizens have a right to know.

Then again, citizens have a right to media that acts as a government watchdog.


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