New Paltz moves to fire police officer over disparaging video

Daily Freeman-6 months before

The board this week voted in favor of “seeking a penalty up to and including termination” of Officer Robert Sisco, town Supervisor Neil Bettez said Friday. He said the matter will be reviewed in binding arbitration under the terms of the police union’s contract and the state’s Civil Service Law.

Bettez said the Town Board met with Sisco during a closed-door portion of Monday’s board meeting, and that members also spoke with the town’s labor lawyers.

Sisco, who has been with the New Paltz Police Department for about eight years and has an annual salary of $77,412... was suspended, with pay, on June 16 because of a video he posted on Instagram.

was suspended, with pay, on June 16 In the video, in which Sisco appears to be in uniform and inside a New Paltz police vehicle, he rapped: “Spit facts over feelings, because your feelings are irrelevant. There's only two genders, and Trump's still your president. Boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina. This whole coronavirus was sent here from China. Hillary is killary, we all know the reason. Where those emails at? We should hang her for treason.”

The video prompted an internal investigation, and the town issued a public apology on Facebook.

“We are so sorry that the trust of many in our community has been broken and that their safety feels threatened," the Facebook post stated. "No one in our town should have to feel that way about our police. ... We are all committed to repairing trust with our New Paltz transgender and LGBTQ+ community members.”

Bettez declined to comment further about the video on Friday but said he stood by previous statements he made to the Freeman.

“It was filmed while he was on duty … and to me that’s the issue,” Bettez said on June 17. “People can do stupid things if they want, but not on my time in a town car. That’s why he’s in trouble.”

The video, which has been removed from Instagram, was met with anger during a June 18 community video conference hosted by the Town Board. Members of the LGBTQ community said it proved their concerns about police bias were valid.

June 18 community video conference

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