Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B1 Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2000
CHARGES AGAINST COUNCIL MEMBER'S SON DROPPEDBRENDAN LYONS Staff writer
All charges have been dismissed against the son of a city councilwoman who was arrested during a controversial melee outside an Arbor Hill market last November as police searched for a suspect accused of shooting two officers.
Albany County prosecutors said they decided to drop the charges against Sean Foskey, 24, because of ``paperwork problems.'' But Foskey's attorney, Randall Kehoe, claims the charges were dropped because police are reluctant to testify about Foskey's arrest. Bystanders said police used excessive force and racial epithets when they arrested Foskey and two others during the Nov. 13 search for the shooting suspect. The department is seeking to fire one officer and suspend three others for their actions that day. Foskey, the son of Albany Common Council Member Shirley Foskey, was to stand trial today on charges of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a violation. Foskey was arrested outside Fat Dee's Market where police say he and two other men -- Warren Washington and Almasi Forrest -- refused orders to move on as officers arrested another man for marijuana possession. Forrest was convicted of disorderly conduct during a two-day bench trial last month. Washington is set to stand trial on a disorderly conduct charge next month. Kehoe said he does not believe the case against Foskey was dropped as a political favor.
But two weeks ago, Foskey, Kehoe and Shirley Foskey met with Police Chief John C. Nielsen to discuss the case, according to Kehoe. A $6 million federal civil rights claim that was filed against the city by Foskey, Washington and Forrest came up during the meeting, Kehoe said. ``The chief wanted to settle the (federal) case at all costs,'' Kehoe said. ``He said: I know you (Sean Foskey) are on probation and we could make it difficult for you.'' Sean Foskey is on probation for a 1997 drug conviction in Colonie, Kehoe said. Nielsen could not be reached for comment Tuesday. District Attorney Sol Greenberg insists the decision to drop the charges was not based on anything other than a weak case. ``The paperwork in that case was all screwed up,'' Greenberg said, declining to elaborate. Kehoe believes prosecutors and police do not want a jury to decide any of the cases because they are concerned the officers' conduct would be the focus of the trial. By dropping the resisting-arrest charges against Foskey and Forrest, which leaves only the disorderly conduct violations against Forrest and Washington, prosecutors avoided a jury trial.