The New York State Inspector General has cleared the Onondaga County Crime Lab after eight serious allegations were made by the Syracuse Police Department in the fall of last year.
The Inspector General found no evidence to support the charges of inappropriate communication, inaccurate firearms results or improper laboratory procedures.
The report does include several criticism of the Syracuse Police Department and ultimately recommends the Crime Lab offer a training program to the SPD. The training will teach the police how the lab operates and how best to communicate with the lab.
The report also acknowledges the ongoing public divide between the Syracuse Police Department administration and District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick which became public during the investigation into allegations of child abuse against former Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine.
The report states, "during interviews with both Deputy Chief Broton and District Attorney Fitzpatrick, it was clear that the relationship between the two offices is currently strained with both offices publicly criticizing the other in recent months."
Deputy Chief Shawn Broton made the complaints that initiated the investigation. The Inspector General said, "a number of the allegations in Broton's complaint, including this one, appear to be attempts to hold the Crime Lab accountable for decisions of the District Attorney with which the Syracuse Police disagree."
Onondaga County Healthy Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow has accepted the findings of the report and will have the Crime Lab offer training to the Syracuse Police Department.
Late in the day Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick issued a statement about the Inspector General report:
The findings of the IG, should finally put to rest media characterizations that the severe problems it found in the Syracuse Police Department Command is somehow a feud between myself and the Chief of Police. The Inspector Generalâ??s Report unequivocally substantiated exactly what I have said since Broton made his claims back in October of 2012:
I would urge all citizens and all those in the media to read the report in its entirety. I would also strongly urge the Mayor and her Corporation Counsel and the Common Council to study this report, its conclusions and its findings and take appropriate corrective action.
Some of the findings from the report include:
There were no inappropriate communications between the Crime Lab and the District Attorney's Office during Investigations. Deputy Chief Broton alleged the district attorney had improperly intervened in the testing of evidence in a homicide case in October of 2012.
On July 21, 2005, two Syracuse Police Officers were involved in a high speed chase that included an exchange of gunfire. The department complained to the Inspector General that the ballistics testing of the officer's firearms may have been inaccurate. Instead the investigation revealed the Syracuse Police Department did not follow its own policy when no one took into custody the officer's weapons that were involved.