Thomas Benjamin, 47, of Neversink, was arrested October 17, for Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, a felony, and Official Misconduct and Coercion in the Third Degree, misdemeanors.
MONTICELLO, NY — Thomas Benjamin, 47, of Neversink, was arrested October 17, for Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, a felony, and Official Misconduct and Coercion in the Third Degree, misdemeanors. The arrest stemmed from an investigation conducted by the Office of the District Attorney and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office following an investigation into events that occurred on September 18.
The charges allege that Benjamin, who at the time was a police officer, discharged a taser from his moving police car at a moving motorcyclist without legal justification or provocation, causing the motorcyclist to lose control of the vehicle and crash. The charges further allege that Benjamin then immediately and improperly took actions in an effort to prevent a use of force investigation and potential criminal investigation into his actions.
A taser is a conductive energy device that uses probes to send approximately 50,000 volts of electricity into a person’s body for the purpose of immediately causing neuro-muscular incapacitation to a subject in situations prescribed by police department regulations.
Village of Monticello Police Chief Rob Mir said, “My department conducted a use of force investigation during which Benjamin was suspended and ultimately tendered his resignation, following which I decertified him as a police officer. My department fully cooperated with the criminal investigation into this matter and we remain committed to holding those responsible for misconduct accountable and responsible for their actions.”
Sheriff Mike Schiff said, “The events surrounding this incident required a transparent and thorough investigation by senior law enforcement leadership, led by the District Attorney, which was appropriately undertaken in this case.”
Benjamin Greenwald, Esq., attorney for the motorcyclist, said, “While I am deeply troubled by the circumstances under which my client was subjected to this treatment, and the actions that immediately followed it, my client and I are pleased with the thorough and transparent criminal investigation into this incident, led by the District Attorney’s Office. My client is fully cooperative with this investigation and continues to suffer from the lasting effects of it.”
DA Meagan Galligan said, “Sullivan County’s law enforcement community has long held its members to the highest standard of policing to ensure not only the safety of the citizens of Sullivan County but to be worthy of the public’s trust. This investigation underscores that commitment.”
REMINDER: The filing of criminal charges is merely an accusation. All persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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