Report on Schenectady police party sent back for further investigation
SCHENECTADY Police investigators need to delve deeper into the platoon Christmas party that involved strippers, Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said.
He received a final report from investigators this week, but sent it back because he wanted more information.
He looked it over with Chief Brian Kilcullen and formulated a list of additional investigation they wanted done, Bennett said. Among those aspects: he wants more people interviewed.
“We’re looking for some additional statements,” he said. “We have some additional questions.”
The department’s midnight platoon hired strippers for its annual Christmas party. The event was held at Johnny Goo’s Clam Shack, which is owned by a retired police officer.
According to witnesses, police celebrated for hours by drinking and watching the strippers. Spouses, who were not invited to the event, complained. City Council members said they expected a more professional event for an official party, and Kilcullen called it “poor judgment.”
But questions remain about whether officers broke the law — it is illegal to touch a stripper sexually, but not to look at them — and who approved the party. Bennett said he wanted to know whether “misconduct” occurred and whether any departmental policies were broken.
He has told investigators to finish the report by Friday.
In addition to interviewing more witnesses, Bennett said investigators haven’t resolved exactly what the state liquor laws are when it comes to strippers at bars during private parties.
“We also want a little clarification on the liquor law, which we’re going to have to get from the State Liquor Authority,” Bennett said.
In general, the law prohibits bars from selling alcohol if strippers at the bar are entirely naked, but not if they are only topless. It’s not clear whether the law is different during a private party.
SLA officials said the same law applies because the bar is selling liquor, but Bennett said city officials have not received confirmation of that.
The nudity ban was written on the theory that mixing alcohol and sexual tension was more likely to lead customers to violence and other misbehavior, according to the state legislation.
The party has also sparked discussion from City Council members, who suggested new policies regarding designated drivers. Bennett said he will discuss that measure — but added that he believes the officers should not need to be told that they can’t drive drunk.
City Council members also said they want a far more professional party — something similar to a wedding reception, rather than a “frat party,” as Councilman Carl Erikson put it.