Schenectady detective to retire in deal

Charges will be dropped in road-rage incident

Thursday, June 5, 2014
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— Yet another police officer is retiring to avoid more serious punishment for misbehavior.

Schenectady Det. John Hotaling has been offered a plea deal in which he would retire, with a full pension, in exchange for road-rage charges essentially being dropped. Hotaling allegedly pointed his police pistol at others during a road rage confrontation.

Hotaling will admit he lost his temper, retire from the force, take anger-manage-

ment classes and perform community service in exchange for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, special prosecutor Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy III said.

The ACOD means the charges against Hotaling will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for six months.

Murphy said the deal was fair.

“We’re treating Mr. Hotaling like we would any other defendant [with] no prior record,” he said. “We are requiring he resign. . . . That is not something we would ordinarily require a civilian to do.”

He said he insisted on Hotaling’s resignation or retirement “because of his conduct.”

“Despite the fact that he had an unblemished record for 20 years, this was a significant event,” Murphy said.

Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said he has been assured Hotaling would take the deal and retire. Although Hotaling has not yet accepted the plea deal in court, Bennett canceled a disciplinary hearing that was to start this week. He said he had intended to fire Hotaling.

“The bottom line from the city of Schenectady’s point of view is he was not someone we wanted to return as a police officer,” Bennett said. “He is no longer going to be a police officer. I’m glad it’s going to be put behind us for our sake and his.”

Hotaling will retire on June 30, Bennett said.

He added that there was no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a termination hearing that could take months if Hotaling was already on his way out.

When Hotaling was suspended in April 2013, he did not have enough years of service to retire. But this month, he hit 20 years — the minimum required to retire with a full pension.

He is scheduled to be in court June 17. His attorney, Andrew Safranko, confirmed that Hotaling won’t come back to the police force.

“I can tell you, John Hotaling is going to retire,” he said.

Hotaling was accused of pointing his police gun at a Glenville family on April 7, 2013, on Maple Avenue. As a teen driver hesitantly drove down the road by his house, supervised by his father and grandfather, Hotaling allegedly passed the car at a high rate of speed.

The grandfather allegedly gave him the finger. In response, at a red light, Hotaling got out of his car. So did the driver’s father and grandfather. That’s when they said Hotaling went back to his car, got his gun, and pointed it at them.

Hotaling has denied the allegations and has been on paid leave for a year because of the incident.

But Bennett said the department’s internal investigation indicated Hotaling was at fault.

Bennett said he believed the family, noting that they called 911 right away, reporting fearfully that a man was pointing a gun. At the time, Bennett said, they had no way of knowing Hotaling was a police officer.

That means they were unlikely to make up the story to get back at him for police-related activities, as had been suggested in court paperwork.

The Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office assumed the case from Schenectady County to avoid a conflict of interest.

Among other officers who resigned or retired from the force in recent years to satisfy criminal prosecutions were Dwayne Johnson, who slept on the job, and Kyle Hunter, who violated an order of protection for his girlfriend.

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June 6, 2014
7:09 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Before anybody jumps to conclusions that he is guilty, he was planning on retiring anyway and this was just the easiest way to put this behind him. Thanks for your 20 years of service to the city John. I'm sorry that you had to go through this and that the people that should of had your back and proven your innocence just hung you out to dry like they did with so many others before you.

June 6, 2014
7:24 a.m.
mezz3131 says...

I'll second that....

June 6, 2014
7:25 a.m.
tonijean613 says...

Thanking a police officer for abusing his power with a full pension? easy way to retire early? Good grief- then you wonder why property taxes are so out of control? On top of high salaries, health, pensions, over time- taxpayers also get stuck with tab of having to pay while suspended and pay for their defense. People don't randomly dial 911 and claim a person is pointing a gun at them. Get real.

June 6, 2014
8:36 a.m.
reader1 says...

Disappointing but anticipated response from marincic.

Unfortunate that John's career ended like this, but, Commissioner Bennett and Chief Kilcullen do not take having to dismiss officers lightly. Regardless of how firm they were in their conviction that John needed to be dismissed from the agency - they knew John personally, worked with him for years - these decisions are unpleasant but necessary.

June 6, 2014
2:14 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Brian, not for nothing... Don't forget where you came from.

June 6, 2014
7:47 p.m.
mezz3131 says...

Yet ANOTHER horribly written article by the worst reporter ever to work in the capital district. This article is so biased against police officers it is a joke. Kathleen Moore has no business reporting the news. Wasn't this Steve Cooks story anyway? Why is this Fiction storyteller writing this article then? Oh yea, Steve Cook would write it unbiased, unlike Kathleen Moore. Horrible Horrible reporter.

June 6, 2014
8:51 p.m.
kopacham says...

Don't you wish civil servant retirements were like the military. You need an honorable discharge to receive your pension and VA benefits. Not a golden handshake to bail after doing something despicable. The big loser is the Schenectady city taxpayer who has to fund the ridiculous retirement system the police and fire fighters have.

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