Utica officer suspended following ‘inappropriate comments,’ officials say

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A second officer in the Utica Police Department has been suspended without pay after he made “inappropriate comments” towards a woman during an argument on Sunday, Aug. 23.

City officials said Sgt. Samuel Geddes was dispatched to a dispute between two people on Blandina Street that eventually devolved to a woman shouting vulgar and homophobic comments towards Geddes. The remarks Geddes shouted back in response have led to him being suspended without pay, with the city looking to terminate his employment contract, officials stated.

Geddes’ exact words were not released by the city this morning. Utica city officials said body camera footage from the incident was expected to be released later Friday afternoon.

The case has also been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review of possible criminal charges, officials stated.

“It is important that the public recognizes that when administering discipline, the City of Utica does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, domestic violence, military status and/or other protected characteristics,” city officials said in a statement.

The Utica Police Department “takes pride in being a professional and transparent police agency that holds its employees accountable.”

This is the second member of the Utica Police Department this month to be suspended and fired for inappropriate behavior. Authorities said Patrolman Matthew Felitto was suspended following an incident on Sept. 4 where he was captured on camera repeatedly stomping on the face of a man in custody.

Authorities said the incident with Geddes began at about 8 a.m. on Aug. 23 in the 900 block of Blandina St., where police were dispatched to an argument between a man and a woman regarding a necklace.

Geddes was later dispatched to join the patrol officers, and authorities said he exercised discretion and allowed the woman to enter her home to retrieve the necklace, rather than charge her with felony robbery for stealing the necklace.

Authorities said the woman did not come back out with the necklace, and instead went up to a second floor balcony and threw a different necklace down to the man. Officials said the woman then started shouting the vulgar and homophobic slurs at Geddes, and threw a bag of
garbage towards another officer on scene.

This is when Geddes made his inappropriate comments, city officials said.

Geddes then obtained a bottle of pepper spray from his squad car and sprayed it towards the balcony, authorities said. Based on the body camera footage, officials said the pepper spray did not make contact with anyone, though one teenager on the scene was later treated due to exposure to the spray.

While the woman’s “remarks were egregious and derogatory, the Utica Police Department does not tolerate nor condone Sergeant Geddes’ language or conduct,” city officials said. “Utica Police Officers receive extensive de-escalation training, and there is an expectation, especially for supervisors, to act in a professional and respectful manner at all times.”

Officials said Geddes reported his use of pepper spray through the chain of command, as is consistent with department policy.

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