MONTICELLO – A former Monticello Police officer has been arrested and charged with firing a taser from his moving police car at a moving motorcyclist without legal justification and provocation, causing the motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle and crash.
Sullivan County District Attorney Meagan Galligan said Thomas Benjamin, 47, of Neversink, has been charged with reckless endangerment as a felony and official misconduct and coercion as misdemeanors.
The DA’s Office and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation into events that occurred on September 18.
The charges against Benjamin also allege that he immediately and improperly took actions in an effort to prevent a use of force investigation and potential investigation into his actions.
“Sullivan County’s law enforcement community has long held its members to the highest standard of policing to ensure not only the safety of the citizens of Sullivan County, but to be worthy of the public’s trust. This investigation underscores that commitment,” said Galligan.
Monticello Police Chief Rob Mir said his department conducted a use of force investigation during which Benjamin was suspended and ultimately resigned. Mir then decertified him as a police officer.
“The events surrounding this incident required a transparent and thorough investigation by senior law enforcement leadership, led by the district attorney, which was appropriately undertaken in this case.”
Benjamin Greenwald, the attorney for the motorcyclist, said he is “deeply troubled by the circumstances” of the incident and the actions that immediately followed, but “my client and I are pleased with the thorough and transparent criminal investigation into this incident, led by the district attorney’s office. My client is fully cooperative with this investigation and continues to suffer from the lasting effects of it.”