Police review board sues for Albany officers’ testimony in alleged racial profiling probe

Albany police chief and four officers being sued

The Albany Community Police Review Board has filed a lawsuit to force four officers to testify as part of an investigation into an allegation of racial profiling.

The lawsuit filed in Albany County Court seeks testimony from Sgt. Daniel Kohler, Officer Patrick Guiry, Officer Matthew Friedrich and Officer Salvatore Sturiale regarding a Jan 24, 2022 incident involving the handcuffing and detaining of two young Hispanic males. These arrests occurred immediately after an officer-involved shooting.

Julie Schwartz, an attorney with T&M USA investigations firm, was retained to review the shooting incident. After looking at body camera footage, she saw the separate incident involving the two young men.

One of the young men can be seen on video accusing the officers of racial profiling, according to court documents.

The subpoenas were issued on May 3, 2023, and the officers did not show up on May 18. The parties held a videoconference on May 24 to discuss the issue. The subpoenas were reissued the following month, and the officers again did not show up.

The Albany Police Benevolent Association sent a letter dated June 23 saying that they would not be testifying. The union had expressed concern that the review board could not adequately protect the officers’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The review board filed the lawsuit on Dec. 21.

“In effect, the individual Officers and the Union-Respondent treated the subpoenas as a nullity, and chose to wholly ignore the authority of a fully enacted local law which was overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of the City of Albany,” the lawsuit said.

All questions are being referred to the city’s corporation counsel, said Albany Police spokesperson Megan Craft. The department had no comment.

No one was available in the corporation counsel office on Tuesday afternoon.

The Times Union was first to report the lawsuit.