Lawsuit alleges racism at Amsterdam police department
The mayor of Amsterdam, New York, said he and the city police department had no tolerance for racism and hatred, as a former black city officer sued the department, claiming he had been subjected to unfair treatment and racial harassment.
Former ODA officer Alan Drake, who served 12 years in the department, filed a lawsuit in May against the Amsterdam Police Department, past and current police chiefs, three other officers and the association Amsterdam Police Charity Fund.
The lawsuit alleges that Drake was subjected to racist and inappropriate comments from the department, that he received inadequate training and was not given training opportunities, and that he was coerced and forced to sign a “faint hope deal” based on “trumped up” accusations in 2017.
The lawsuit also alleges that officers displayed white supremacist symbols like Confederate flags at the town’s police station and on their figures. A white officer is accused of having a Nazi SS bolt tattoo.
The lawsuit says Drake was terminated in April 2021 after being suspended in December 2020 for allegedly taking 30 minutes to answer a personal phone call. Drake seeks damages and his reinstatement.
The lawsuit says Drake shared his concerns about his experiences with former Mayor Ann Thane and current Mayor Michael Cinquanti.
On Friday, the WAMC questioned Mayor Cinquanti, a Democrat, about the allegations.
“I was aware of events, files, etc. So I checked everything, everything. And, like I said, if it existed, I would do something. And the things we’re doing is giving the public and the Drakes Officers around the world the assurance that this doesn’t exist, ”said Cinquanti.
When asked about the alleged Nazi tattoo, Cinquanti admitted that some of the claims in the trial were worrying.
“It’s very extreme and if I saw this and found evidence that it existed, I would be very upset about it and do something about it. I haven’t seen this evidence. ‘ve seen none of this exist. And I’m not saying I don’t know because I took office last January and Officer Drake is alleging things that happened before my tenure, but I don’t not tolerate hatred and racism, ”said Cinquanti.
Cinquanti said he had “complete confidence” in Chief John Thomas, whom he appointed in 2020.