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Saratoga County DA To Serve As Special Prosecutor In McCarthy Case

Saratoga County

On May 19th, Rotterdam resident Sarah Dingley called 9-1-1 claiming she was being followed by a man who identified himself as the mayor of Schenectady.

“There’s a guy that just blocked me off and said he was the mayor of Schenectady and wouldn’t let me drive and he was flashing his lights at me telling me he was going to call the cops,” Dingley said on the 9-1-1 audio released to the media.

In the events that have been widely reported the last couple weeks, McCarthy approached Dingley on foot and identified himself as the mayor of Schenectady. He then followed Dingley in his vehicle to the city police station. On the 9-1-1 audio, Dingley accuses McCarthy of blocking the road with his vehicle and claimed he was intoxicated. McCarthy has denied being drunk.

No criminal charges were filed and many are seeking answers.

Independent Schenectady City Council member Vince Riggi, the only non-Democrat on the city council, then asked for an independent investigation into the matter.

“And we’re talking about the highest elected official in the city of Schenectady. So that’s why I moved forward with asking the DA to ask for an outside investigation,” said Riggi.

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney asked the court to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate. On Monday, Justice Vito Caruso appointed Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen to look into the matter.

McCarthy previously served as an investigator in the Schenectady DA’s office.

Carney also directed any camera footage of the encounter be preserved. In a column published in the Daily Gazette on Tuesday, Carney writes,

“I have no idea what images may have been captured, but the information will be available for access by that special prosecutor should one be appointed.”

Carney stood by his office’s policy that camera footage be used solely for the purpose of criminal investigation.

Riggi said a thorough investigation into the incident would serve to “clear everyone’s mind.”

“And I think that’s what will at least bring some sort of finality to this one way or another. It certainly puts our police department in a bad light, and I don’t like to see that. But I think people want to do did anyone get any preferential treatment that night – basically, the mayor,” said Riggi.

The offices of both District Attorney Heggen and the mayor would not provide additional comment Wednesday.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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