TOWN OF FISHKILL – Town Supervisor Ozzy Albra, referencing a February shooting in the town that involved police officers, declared that one of the victims was innocent. The claim of innocence was made in advance of evidence being presented to a Dutchess County grand jury.
Officials with knowledge of the February shooting told Mid-Hudson News that Town of Fishkill officers responded to an unrelated call on February 26th. When the officers arrived, they were confronted by a knife-wielding man. A struggle ensued between officers, resulting in the man and a woman acquainted with the man, being shot. The initial story can be found here.
At a recent town board meeting, councilmembers were discussing the need for body-worn cameras for their police officers and Albra used the February shooting as an example of the need. “This incident proves that we need body-worn cameras.”
Albra, in lobbying for the cameras, referenced the shooting, saying “I totally expect our officers to be exonerated, but the problem is that an innocent person was shot.” His statement was chastised by fellow board member John Forman who responded “You’re muddying the waters,” implying that Albra’s declaration of innocence preceded the grand jury’s investigation.
The case, originally investigated by State Troopers, has been turned over to the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office. Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Weishaupt will be presenting the evidence to a grand jury for their evaluation in the coming days. To date, no determination of innocence or guilt has been made by the judicial system.
Albra failed to respond to a request from Mid-Hudson News to elaborate on his claim of innocence. He also ignored the same question that was posed by Councilman Brian Wrye (see video below). He was asked to identify the victim that he claims is innocent and provide evidence proving his claim. Chief ADA Matt Weishaupt, when told of the Albra comments said “The grand jury will examine all of the evidence surrounding this incident and any finding the grand jury makes will happen after all of the evidence is presented.”
Fishkill Police Lieutenant Paul Schettino was concerned that a town official was weighing in on an investigation that has not concluded. “It is irresponsible and short-sighted for anyone to make a statement about an innocence or guilt, especially when the facts haven’t even been presented to a grand jury.”
A recap of the original story and grand jury proceeding can be found here.
A portion of the meeting where Albra says the victim is innocent can be watched below. Albra is on the left, Councilman Forman is in the middle, and Councilman Wrye is on the right.