“In regard to the [Darryl] Mount case, all of the evidence in our possession supports what the officers on the scene have said happened,” said Chief Veitch. “Regarding the recent very serious allegations made against specific police officers at the public comment period of some recent city council meetings, those allegations have been investigated and have been found to be without merit.”
Veitch, who just took the position as Chief of Police a few months ago, said he takes pride in the department and the men and women who work for him.
“We all know there are people who should not be police officers, but I am confident with the people we have in our department. Officers must be held accountable for their actions and we will continue to strive to do so,” said Veitch.
The incident that was the capstone to the troubled image involved 21-year-old Darryl Mount, Jr. Over two months ago on August 31 in the early morning hours, two Saratoga Springs police officers on foot patrol on Caroline Street saw Mount shove a woman into the side of a brick building, striking her head. As the officers approached and commanded him to stop, Mount turned and sprinted toward Broadway, heading south in front of the Washington Building.
With the officers in pursuit, he ran into the newly constructed alleyway, and then into the still-under-construction backside of the building. Tasers were fired, but none connected with the fleeing Mount, and while one officer continued to chase Mount, assisting officers attempted to circle around the building in an effort to cut off Mount’s escape. No one, said Veitch, ever went into a building.
Mount ran to the back of the Washington building where he got onto the scaffolding that lines the backside of the building and either fell or jumped from the scaffolding, suffering serious, life-threating injuries.
Moments after he fell, bouncers from Gaffneys who had heard the noise, along with other responding officers found him lying on the ground. A SSPD investigator also happened to respond that the same time and immediately began photographing the scene.
Veitch said they have also reviewed all of the surveillance videos of the incident and said they clearly show the series of events.
“There are many reasons that we cannot release video evidence,” said Veitch. “All subjects have a right to a fair trial and we must be very careful to not jeopardize a criminal court case by releasing video that a potential juror may see and form an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of someone before they have had their day in court.”
Continuing, Veitch said they also are not releasing the video because it shows a victim being hurt by violence.
“Privacy concerns of uninvolved persons on video that we release must also be considered,” said Veitch. “We must consider if a witness to a crime is shown and the risk to that witness if their identity becomes known to the suspect. In some cases, like domestic violence incidents, we must always consider the confidentiality of the investigation and the impact that releasing the video of an incident may have on a victim. All potential victims must know that this police department will not release video of their being victimized unless compelled to do so by legal authority.”
As for not requesting an outside investigation, into the Mount incident, Veitch said he is confident of the investigation conducted by his department.
“It is my responsibility alone to ensure that questions of officer conduct are investigated thoroughly and objectively,” continued Veitch. “In addition, Saratoga Springs has an elected Public Safety Commissioner to provide civilian oversight of the police department.”
Veitch said he is bothered by some of the allegations that have surfaced following Mount’s accident, including the one by a woman at a council meeting.
“Some very serious allegations have been made against specific police officers at the public comment period of some recent city council meetings,” said Veitch. “Those allegations have been investigated and have been found to be without merit. Some of the allegations made were against police officers who were not even on duty at the time of the alleged incidents.”
As for the woman who claimed she was choked unconscious, Veitch noted that all video surveillance shows those allegations were unfounded.
“Accusations of an officer choking an arrested female into unconsciousness are not supported by video surveillance of the incident are completely false,” said Veitch.
He added that if anyone wanted an outside investigation, they could go to any one of a number of agencies for help.
“There are several agencies that are lawfully charged with investigating misconduct of public officials, including police officers,” said Veitch. “Any lawyer or advocacy group would know which agencies conduct investigations of this nature. I will stress, as I have in the past, that all allegations of officer misconduct are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. I stand by the integrity of the investigations conducted in recent matters and feel that an outside investigation is not warranted.”
Continuing he added, “All of the evidence [in the Mount case] in our possession supports what the officers on the scene have said happened. It is our opinion that it is more important that Mr. Mount gets the medical care he needs than it is for the police department charge him with any offenses at this point.”