Three Saratoga Springs cops being investigated over assault
SARATOGA SPRINGS The investigation into a fight early Monday morning at a Saratoga Springs sports bar involving three off-duty city police officers continued Thursday.
Even though Saratoga Springs Police Department officials and other city officials declined to identify the three officers suspended this week after a man reported he had been injured in a scuffle with them, their names have surfaced.
Patrolmen Mark Leffler, Edward Braim and John Guzek were all suspended without pay while the 12:15 a.m. Nov. 12 incident at Dango Fitzgerald’s Sport Bar at 38 Caroline St. is investigated. Several sources confirmed the actions of the three officers are being investigated.
Witnesses to the fight have been interviewed over the past three days, with more interviews to come, according to police.
Mark McCarthy of the Harris Beach law firm, the city’s labor lawyer, said state Civil Service law provides confidentiality to city employees involved in such investigations.
Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said Thursday neither he nor any member of the Police Department can release the names of the officers. He said he hoped the investigation can be completed by next week and more information provided to the public.
No arrests have been made, and details of the incident have not been released by authorities.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said there are two parallel investigations being conducted by the city Police Department: an internal investigation and a criminal investigation being conducted by the department’s command structure, which is Chief Christopher Cole, Assistant Chief Gregory Veitch, Capt. Michael Chowske, and the department’s lieutenants.
“At this point, we have not received a full report because the investigation is ongoing,” Murphy said.
The three officers are entitled to their own attorneys and can provide statements if they wish. The Police Department will make the decision whether to file charges against them after the investigation is completed, Murphy said.
He said his office would receive and review the results only if criminal activity is alleged.
Cole said the man who reported to police that he had been injured in the fight was not seriously injured. He sought medical treatment on his own some time after the incident occurred. His initial complaint came about a half-hour after the incident, when he contacted city police, saying he was assaulted by a member or members of the department.
“There are no allegations of serious injuries, and that means no felony assault charges [would be considered],” Murphy said Thursday.
Murphy said his department’s main concern in such cases is the victim and making sure their rights are protected.
Leffler has been with the police department since the early 1990s, Braim has been with the department for a decade and Guzek has been a city officer about four years.