Contrary to what the chief said publicly at the time, the Saratoga Springs Police Department did not conduct an internal investigation into potential police misconduct related to the events of Labor Day weekend 2013 that led to the injury and later death of Malta resident Darryl Mount, Jr. That’s according to a new report in the Albany Times Union by the former longtime editor of The Saratogian newspaper.
Mount, then 21, sustained injuries in the early morning of August 31st, 2013 after leading police on a foot chase in the city’s downtown. Police said at the time that Mount was discovered injured at the bottom of a nearby scaffold.
Mount’s family disputed the department’s account and called for an external investigation.
Here’s Mount’s father, Darryl Mount Sr., speaking to the Saratoga Springs city council at the time.
"My son lays fighting for his life, behind your officers. We're tired of this brutality," said Mount Sr. "Uphold your oath. Take care of this. When does it stop? When somebody's child dies?"
Mount was left in a coma for months before his death in May of 2014.
In Sunday’s Times Union, former Saratogian editor Barb Lombardo wrote that newly obtained court documents show no internal investigation into potential misconduct was ever conducted, despite public assurances from the city’s police chief.
Here’s Chief Greg Veitch speaking to WAMC after the incident. He told me that he did not believe police acted incorrectly.
"There's no evidence that this is a case of police brutality at all," said Veitch. "And I've made this statement before and I'll say it again: anyone who says that they saw an officer abusing Mr. Mount during this incident, I welcome them to come forward and I will personally take their statement”.
Former city Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen suggested at the time that video evidence would be helpful in the city’s own investigation.
“All the facts need to come out,” said Mathieson. “There’s a lot of surveillance cameras on Broadway, on Caroline Street, on Putnam Street that hadn’t been in place in the past, so I think those cameras will be very helpful in terms of helping to determine exactly what happened.”
In June of 2014, the police chief and public safety commissioner held a press conference where they released documents and surveillance photos of the events leading up to the foot chase.
Police approached Mount after responding to an alleged act of violence he committed against his girlfriend. Mount then fled, leading officers from Caroline Street to the scaffold in a nearby alley. Officers said they lost sight of Mount, before discovering him injured at the bottom of the 19-foot scaffold.
Officials maintained that no eyewitnesses to the incident came forward.
Officials said video obtained from the scene leading to the chase was not released due to the nature of a domestic violence situation.
In November 2014, Mount’s family filed a lawsuit against the city.
Court documents obtained by the Times Union show that Veitch intentionally misled a Saratogian reporter who had inquired about the Mount case.
Responding to an October 2013 email by Saratogian, Veitch wrote in part:
“Investigation into the allegation of misconduct on the part of the police officers involved is an internal investigation.”
In sworn testimony from May 2017, Veitch echoed earlier sentiments that the department did not have evidence to suggest police misconduct. As such, an investigation into potential misconduct was not completed.
Veitch told a lawyer representing the Mount family why he misled the reporter:
“If she is asking me to release something that I am not going to release, I am giving her a reason that may or may not be true so she doesn’t get access to the thing we don’t want to release.”
According to the Times Union report, Veitch said the department’s investigation focused on whether Mount should be criminally charged.
Mount was never charged with a crime.
Last week, Veitch referred questions from the Times Union to an attorney representing the city. WAMC has sought comment from Chief Veitch.