Skip to comments.Churchill: Cop's road rage punishment seems like a reward
Posted on 06/17/2014 6:28:14 AM PDT by Fitzy_888
Let's play a game. Let's say you've done something wrong and will therefore be punished.
Here's your punishment: You must retire from your job. You will receive a full pension. Your days will be free for whatever your heart desires.
Hey, stop smiling. You're being punished!
In the real world, of course, retirement is generally seen as a good thing, especially if the retiree will be financially comfortable. But when a cop misbehaves, retirement is treated like the guillotine.
Consider the plea deal for Schenectady Detective John Hotaling. His road-rage charges will be essentially dropped if he trades his badge for golf pants, gardening gloves or whatever retirement garb he chooses.
Poor guy. Hotaling is just 46, by the way.
This all stems from a terrifying bit of furor Hotaling allegedly displayed 13 months ago.
The Arnows grandfather, son and grandson were traveling down Maple Avenue on an April afternoon. Yes, their Plymouth Neon was probably moving slowly because the teenager behind the wheel was learning to drive. Their plodding pace seems to have angered Hotaling, who was off duty.
All was well, the Arnows say, until Hotaling's pickup zoomed around them and nearly forced the family from the road. At a red light, Hotaling stepped out from his truck to confront the family. An animated discussion followed, before Hotaling allegedly returned to his vehicle and returned with a gun that he pointed at two members of the family.
"I will (use your imagination) kill you," Hotaling said, according to the Arnows.
Well, that could certainly put a damper on a family outing.
Hotaling was placed on paid leave and charged with two counts of misdemeanor menacing.
Fast forward to the plea deal announced last week by Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy, the special prosecutor for the case. Charges will be adjourned in contemplation of dismissal if Hotaling resigns, performs community service and takes anger-management counseling. The charges disappear if he stays out of trouble for six months.
The deal is nicely timed, coming just as Hotaling hits 20 years on the job the hurdle for full pension and retirement benefits.
That, folks, is a punishment that seems like a reward. And it's not sitting well with the Arnow family, as reporter Paul Nelson details elsewhere in today's Times Union.
But Murphy says the deal accomplishes his primary goal: getting Hotaling off the force.
"An ordinary person who is not a police officer would never have to resign from his position," Murphy said. "In this case, we thought the most important thing was to have him resign. We didn't want him back on the street."
Of course, many "ordinary people" would be fired by their employers for waving a gun at a family without a full pension after just 20 years on the job.
Actually, Hotaling really didn't serve 20 years, since he's been on leave for 13 months. And he was probably going to be fired anyhow because an internal police investigation didn't go his way.
"We feel that the victims in this case were truthful in what they said occurred," said Schenectady Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett.
The plea, then, enacts a penalty that was likely already coming. It just saves time.
Did I mention that Hotaling will still be allowed to carry a gun even though prosecutors believe he threatened a family with one?
He is expected to accept the deal at a June 17 proceeding in Glenville Town Court. Doing so, Murphy said, means the detective will be acknowledging he acted inappropriately.
"We're holding him to a higher standard than we would for an ordinary person," said Murphy, adding that menacing convictions are rare when the defendant, like Hotaling, has a clean record.
What that suggests, then, is anyone without a criminal history can endanger another car and wave a gun around without fear of significant punishment. I don't know about you, but my drive home just got more interesting.
Hotaling earned $87,117 in 2012, and $98,897 last year, according to the See Through NY database. I wasn't able to determine the amount of his pension Wednesday, but it will certainly will be comfortable.
I'm still looking for the punishment here.
One last question: Will Hotaling receive retirement credentials the badge and ID card enjoyed by other former officers? Bennett said he and Schenectady's police chief will make that decision later. "It's probably in a negative direction," Bennett said. "But we'll weigh his 20-year career and see if it's a justifiable decision."
Suspended city police detective John Hotaling is expected to be in Glenville Town Court this evening where his menacing case could be resolved with a plea deal....
Same thing happened in a nearby small town except the cop in that case had his kids in his car and the object of his rage was an old man driving the “ meals on wheels” truck to the senior center!
He was fired but only because this was 2nd instance of “rage cop” syndrome. One was on duty and one was off.
Give him credit for making it all the way through that statement without bursting in to condescending laughter.
Good God, I hate the pigs. I hate them more than even my massive vocabulary can describe.
Any ordinary person would be jailed for life for this (and felony menacing should have a harsh sentence)
Retired with pension?
If a citizen did that to a cop, he’d be killed on the side of the road.
one of the deputy chiefs for the libtard Salt Lake City “police chief” got in trouble for some inappropriate activity involving phone pics. they put the guy on paid administrative leave for seven months (at which point he qualified to retire and was “let go”).
so his “punishment” was a seven month paid vacation prior to retirement.
At the very least, he would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and then of course, resisting arrest...
I would point out that likely he is now ELEGABLE for his pension at retirement age. That still leaves him unemployed now.
But don’t worry about that. Since they saved him from a criminal record, especially with a gun, another department will be stupid or corrupt enough to hire him.
But all this and people wonder why so many are disgusted of cops.
Him being able to carry a gun in “retirement” angers me way, way more than the pension.