Created: February 05, 2020 07:34 PM
The Albany man at the center of the case involving criminal charges from a traffic stop in August of 2019 that were later dropped has put the city of Albany on notice that he intends to file a claim against the city.
The nature of the claim filed on behalf of Clay Gustave through Attorney Mark S. Mishler is for malicious prosecution, defamation, and negligence.
Clay Gustave was initially pulled over by the Albany Police Department, specifically then APD Officer Emiljan Miftari around 5 p.m. on August 5, 2019.
The notice of claim states, "At the that time and place, Mr. Gustave was driving in a car and was unlawfully stopped by on duty APO Emiljan Miftari, who then assaulted Mr. Gustave, took Mr. Gustave into custody, and falsely charged Mr. Gustave with offenses," Attorney Mishler informed the city of Albany.
The claim stems from a court hearing in Albany City Court on November 7, 2019 when the claim states, "All of the charges that had been commenced against Mr. Gustave by Albany PO (then) Emiljan Miftari were dismissed in Albany City court on a motion by the People and such charges were terminated in Mr. Gustave's favor," Mishler wrote.
The claim states that Gustave did not engage in any moving violation that had or could have provided then APD Officer Miftari with a lawful basis to initiate the traffic stop.
Gustave admits he had flipped off another driver, and on "information and belief, Officer Miftari observed this, became angry at Mr. Gustave, and decided to stop Mr. Gustave, despite the fact that there was no lawful basis to do so." And after he pulled over, the claim says that Officer Miftari was "hostile and aggressive and escalated the situation." NewsChannel 13 reached out to the NYSP Training Academy in Albany, where Miftari is currently training to become a NYSP Trooper.
As Miftari is at the academy, NewsChannel 13 left a voice message asking for Emiljan Miftari to return a call. Mishler wrote Miftari was angered that Gustave gave the middle finger to another driver and in part acted "on racial prejudice against Mr. Gustave."
The claim describes the former APD officer's actions as intentional, malicious, wanton, callous, extreme and racist. The claim also names Police Chief Eric Hawkins and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan for statements made to the media back in August that Mishler wrote "caused additional harm to Mr. Gustave, without the benefit of a full or proper investigation of the incident."
Public statements the claim says made "with the intention of causing harm and damage to Mr. Gustave, to his professional and personal reputation, and to his professional employment."
NewsChannel 13 reached out to city officials, including the mayor's spokesman Brian Shea and the Public Information Officer for Police Chief Eric Hawkins. Officer Steve Smith referred NewsChannel 13 to the Office of Corporation Counsel. They released the four-page claim to NewsChannel 13.
Brian Shea with Mayor Kathy Sheehan's office says city officials cannot comment on pending litigation.
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