'Occupy Syracuse' couple files complaint against Syracuse Police

A Syracuse couple says there was police misconduct during the Occupy Syracuse eviction; they've complained to the Civilian Review Board

Two Syracuse residents are filing police misconduct complaints in connection with the Occupy Syracuse evictions last month.

Risa and Adam C'DeBaca were at the downtown encampment overnight on January 19th, but had left. When they got word that police were moving in for evictions, they say they drove back downtown to watch, and had parked in a lot behind the encampment. They claim as they began walking toward the site, an officer told them to stop, then 'threw them up against a nearby sedan."

Risa C'DeBaca says her arm was twisted and "his nails dug into her skin, leaving a mark, despite three layers of winter clothing."

The C'DeBacas say the area was not marked off and they say the attack was 'a clear effort of intimidation.' Never the less, Adam C'DeBaca told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the incident was "minor." He added: "We're using it as an opportunity to make a complaint" with the Citizen Review Board.

This will be the first complaint to the recently revitalized police Citizen Review Board, which has a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday. CRB President Crystal Collette tells Kenyon "Our goal as a Board is always to work toward a resolution outside a hearing."

She says such a resolution could be "sitting down with the police officer to have a dialogue... our job is to help citizens feel they have a voice in their interactions with law enforcement."

A big unanswered question involves the CRB's use of subpoena power to compel officers to appear before its Board. Police Benevolent Association President Jeff Piedmonte says if the CRB tries to use its subpoena power, "We would seek an injunction through PERB (Public Employees Relations Board) to stop an investigation."

He says the CRB is "outside our contract which has specific language as to how officers' conduct is investigated."

Collette feels the Board may not have to subpoena officers because Police Chief Frank Fowler supports the organization.

"I'm not concerned about the PBA concerns at this point. As a new Board, we're working on developing relationships with the entire police department with Chief Fowler as our connection to the department and hopefully that type of adversarial relationship... we won't get there."