FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Regarding: Release of information related to August 31, 2013 foot pursuit
Many of the facts of the foot pursuit
involving officers of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and Daryl Mount,
Jr. on August 31, 2013 have previously been released and can be obtained by
visiting the Saratoga Springs Police Department website www.saratogapolice.org. Previously released information is located in
“press releases” in the “Newsroom” section of the website.
Today the department is releasing to the media redacted copies of case reports and witness statements related to the investigation of the events of August 31, 2014, along with still photos of the video of the initial assault, video of the officers in foot pursuit of Darryl Mount, Jr along Broadway and Gardner Lane, radio transmissions of the pursuit, and photographs of the end of the alley where police lost sight of Mr. Mount and the area of the scaffolding where Mount ran to during his attempt to elude police.With the death of Mr. Mount last month, there is no longer the possibility of criminal charges related to this incident. However, a notice of claim against the City remains and as such, some information, specifically the names and identifying information of witnesses, continues to be withheld. In addition, the privacy rights of the victim and witnesses require that any possible identifying information be kept confidential, this includes the security camera video footage that depicts the initial assault of the victim in this case.
In our efforts to more appropriately respond to issues of domestic violence, the police department often communicates with victim’s advocates and the staff at Saratoga County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis (DVRC) in order to better understand and respond to domestic violence incidents. One of the more difficult issues to deal with in abusive relationships and domestic violence situations is that the victim is often embarrassed or too ashamed to report the abuse to authorities. This is one of the reasons that we do not believe it is appropriate to release the video footage of the assault. No victim should be concerned that if they report abuse, that at some point in the future the police may release video evidence of their being victimized for all of society to see.
We believe releasing the video of the assault may cause future victims to hesitate in reporting incidents of violence to police. The Saratoga Springs Police Department will always act with concern for the victims of crime first and foremost and will not willingly release video footage of domestic violence incidents that not only force the victim to relive the event, but may prevent other victims from reporting abuse and seeking the assistance they may need. The privacy and dignity of victims of crime trumps any criticism the police department may face for the decision to do what we believe is the right thing to do for the victim.
Although the victims of crime must be treated with compassion and discretion, the public also has a right to expect that their police department is as transparent as possible. In an effort to meet both the needs of the victim and the expectations of the public, the police department is releasing two still photos of the video footage of the initial assault. The first is a photo of Mr. Mount walking up Caroline Street towards the victim just prior to the assault. The second is of Mr. Mount immediately after the assault turning the corner of Caroline and Broadway. The area of the victim has been concealed for the reasons stated above.
During the investigation, 25 witnesses who saw at least some part of the incident or lived in the area were interviewed by police. It is important to note that no witnesses contradicted any part of the account of the officers on the scene, or reported observing any abuse by officers. In fact, all available evidence supports the accounts given by the officers in their reports of the incident. Specifically:
- Officers witnessed an assault and pursued the fleeing offender
- Officers attempted to end the pursuit as quickly and safely as possible by discharging their Tasers at the offender
- All four probes from the discharged Tasers were recovered at the scene in the area where the officers had used them. None of the probes made any contact with Mr. Mount.
- Police officers are trained to slow their foot pursuit once they have lost sight of the offender. The picture of the scaffolding clearly indicates that an officer would reasonably refrain from blindly pursuing an offender into such a tangle of wet wood and metal in the complete darkness.
- Witnesses also reported hearing the deployment of the Tasers in the area reported by officers. Additionally police officers were heard yelling commands to Mr. Mount to stop running.
- Police officers, realizing they would not be able to pursue Mr. Mount through the scaffolding area, ran around the front of the buildings on Broadway, in an attempt to cut off Mr. Mount in the direction he was reported to be fleeing.
- Witnesses reported seeing an officer on the scaffolding, unaware of the location of Mr. Mount and asking if the witnesses had seen anyone running through the area.
- After initially handcuffing Mr. Mount, which is standard procedure at the termination of any pursuit, the handcuffs were removed within seconds once Mr. Mount’s medical condition was observed and medical assistance immediately requested.
- Within moments of Mr. Mount being located, an investigator on scene began documenting the incident and witnesses reported seeing photographs being taken and medical assistance being administered.
- No witness that has come forward has ever stated that they saw police officers in any way abusing Mr. Mount.
Despite unsubstantiated claims that have been made publicly that police officers assaulted Mr. Mount, and a completely inaccurate headline (“Witness Reports: Victim Pushed”) that appeared on the front page of a local newspaper on September 24, 2013, no witness have ever come forward to report that they saw any officer engaged in any form of abuse or misconduct during the night of August 31, 2103. Police Chief Veitch has offered repeatedly in the past to meet with and personally take the statement of anyone who claims that they observed Saratoga Springs police officers assaulting Mr. Mount or anyone else.
We will now show the photographs that indicate Mr. Mount immediately before and after the initial assault and the scaffolding area. The videos of the public safety security cameras, the audio transmissions, the four photographs shown here, and the redacted copies of the case reports and witness statements will be posted to the Police Department’s website, www.saratogapolice.org.
Gregory J. Veitch
Chief of Police
Saratoga Springs, NY, -- Friday, June 20, 2014
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Mount Darryl Info Release PDF
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