Utica Police Officer Cleared Of Excessive Force Charges, Will Return To Duty
A Utica Police officer accused of using excessive force during an incident in August of 2020 will return to duty following an arbitrator's final ruling in the case.
Sgt. Samuel Geddes was accused of making inappropriate comments toward a woman and two teens and spraying pepper spray in the direction of the woman following an incident on Blandina Street.
The incident was captured on video.
Geddes was suspended for 30 days following the altercation and then suspended without pay in September.2020.
The arbitration process began after the city sought to terminate Geddes based on the charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and that the force used during the incident was unreasonable.
The arbitrator ruled that Geddes did not use excessive force.
Geddes was found guilty of conduct unbecoming and was suspended for a total 35 days, upholding the City’s initial 30-day suspension and adding an additional 5-days
Sgt. Geddes will return to full duty following an additional five days suspension.
He must also complete remedial instruction focused on Anger Management and Effective Communication to De-Escalate Confrontational Situations prior to his return to duty.
The arbitrator took into account Geddes “exemplary record" when make the decisions.
The city says the final ruling took longer than anticipated due to COVID and other factors.
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL STORY FROM 9/25/2020:
Utica Police are releasing information on an incident that happened on August 23rd involving a UPD officer and a resident.
Police were called to the 900 block of Blandina Street for a verbal altercation between two residents on the sidewalk.
They say Melissa Henderson admitted to stealing a necklace owned by Jimmy Spratt.
Sgt. Samuel Geddes allowed Henderson to enter her home to return the necklace in lieu of charging her with robbery, for which there was probable cause.
Henderson allegedly threw a different necklace from the second-floor balcony, yelled vulgar and homophobic slurs toward Geddes and threw a bag of garbage in the direction of another officer.
Police say a verbal altercation took place between Geddes and Henderson in which Geddes made inappropriate comments to Henderson and two teens.
Geddes then allegedly sprayed pepper spray in the direction of Henderson and one teenager who was still on the balcony and eventually left the scene.
Body worn footage initially indicates the pepper spray did not make contact with anyone.
However, one teenager was treated by the Utica Fire Department due to the exposure of the pepper spray shortly after the incident occurred.
Sgt. Geddes has been suspended without pay.
Mayor Robert Palmieri says the City will seek his termination under the collective bargaining agreement.
Palmieri said in a statement while the woman’s remarks during the altercation were egregious and derogatory, the UPD does not tolerate or condone Geddes’ language or conduct.