Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the disciplinary action handed down to MPD employees in the case of a man’s body found in a van in the department’s impound lot.
Amid all of the breaking national news this weekend, an important local development may have gone unnoticed. It involves the troubling discovery last year of a man’s body inside a van that had been sitting in the city’s impound lot for 49 days. Friday, Police Director Mike Rallings announced disciplinary action against nine individuals, including eight police officers.
All of them had some role in failing to discover 33-year-old Bardomiano Perez Hernandez inside the van after a shooting and attempted robbery in Binghampton. Hernandez was shot once during the attack on December 18, 2017. But his body wasn’t discovered until February 5th, 2018, when the van’s owner came to retrieve the vehicle.
An impound lot employee was fired and a police sergeant was demoted. Other punishment ranged from unpaid suspensions to reprimands. Plus, Director Rallings candidly admitted that his officers made mistakes. But he assured the public that changes have been made to make sure this kind of incident is not repeated.
Meanwhile, the family of Hernandez has filed suit against the city, arguing that he possibly could have survived had he been discovered promptly. The city insists it is not responsible for Hernandez’ death, and his family is not entitled to money damages.
It’s clear that city employees were negligent. And barring a settlement, the question of whether that negligence makes the city financially liable is something the courts will decide. And that’s my point of view.