Albany Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Assault, Resigns From Force
An Albany Police officer charged in connection to a response to a party in March 2019 has pleaded guilty to assault and resigned from the force. Albany County District Attorney David Soares announced Wednesday that sentencing for Luke Deer has been adjourned for a year. Soares says that Deer has been receiving treatment through Veterans Affairs for the last two years while he has been suspended from the police department. The DA says if Deer successfully continues treatment and has no new arrests over the next year, the 31-year-old will be allowed to withdraw his plea and substitute a non-criminal conviction.
Deer and several other officers were disciplined for their actions on First Street in March 2019 in response to calls about a loud party. Officers then kicked in a door, leading to what Soares called a “melee.”
“Our priority in resolving this case was to ensure that this officer could no longer police the streets of Albany," Soares said in a statement. "I commend the Chief of police for taking this seriously and I look forward to continuing to work with him and his administration to make sure that breakdowns like the one that occurred on First Street don’t happen again."
In a statement, Mayor Kathy Sheehan commended Police Chief Eric Hawkins for moving quickly to “arrest and terminate” Deer and says the city remains committed to reform that would “expedite disciplinary action.” Hawkins said in a statement the plea is another step toward closure after a painful incident.
The plea requires Deer to abandon his challenge to department discipline.