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Ex-murder defendant sues Gloversville over his arrest

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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— Derek Kenney, who was arrested and indicted in a July 2010 stabbing death but later saw the charges dropped, filed suit Monday in federal court seeking unspecified compensation for false arrest and imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

The 40-year-old Kenney, represented by Amsterdam lawyer Elmer Robert Keach III, also filed a motion in State Supreme Court asking that court to waive its 90-day deadline for filing a notice of claim against a municipality.

In the federal court suit, Keach contends Gloversville police violated Kenney’s rights under the Fourth Amendment protecting against improper arrests and seizures. It further alleges officers violated Kenney’s Fifth Amendment rights regarding self-incrimination when they interrogated him before he was given his Miranda warnings and before he was arrested. Keach says Kenney asked for lawyer and was denied that right.

The body of 42-year-old Brian Morrison was found around midnight July 6 on a Bleecker Street lawn, a puncture wound in his neck. Kenney was arrested three days later.

He was indicted on murder charges in early September but was released in October after Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira said the continuing investigation determined three witnesses either lied or misled police in the days after the killing.

The witnesses were indicted this month for their alleged deception, which the indictments assert was motivated by their desire to cover up an attack that night against Morrison by their acquaintance, Derrick Paul, 27, who was then residing near the crime scene.

Sira, speaking at a news conference in late September — shortly before charges were dismissed against Kenney — said Paul admitted assaulting Morrison at the site where the body was found, but denied stabbing him. Officials have said Paul told police he stole Morrison’s wallet, which was never found.

Sira said last week that both Paul and Kenney remain suspects in the case as the investigation continues.

In the suit, Keach asserts Kenney’s arrest was motivated by “bad faith and malice, as they were designed to punish.”

But Gloversville Police Chief Edgar Beaudin said Tuesday that his officers acted in good faith.

“We acted on the best information we had available and we had probable cause,” Beaudin said, noting that the three women since indicted provided misleading information at the outset of the investigation.

He said the investigation is continuing and neither Kenney or Paul have been eliminated as suspects.

Keach called the arrest of his client an outrage and said “it is just plain wrong.” He said officers were motivated to make a quick arrest and “rushed to justice.”

By continuing now to call Kenney a suspect, authorities are denigrating his client, he said, adding: “There was no proof in this case.”

In the court papers, Keach challenges the Gloversville police assertion that Kenney confessed during an interrogation. Statements provided by Kenney cannot be interpreted as a confession, Keach said, also emphasizing that Kenney spoke up during the interrogation to deny any role in Morrison’s murder.

In his affidavit in the state court filing seeking permission to file suit, Kenney refers to his “wrongful imprisonment that took almost four months of my life away.” He said the incarceration “continues to plague me emotionally.”

 
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