An Auburn mayoral candidate may file a lawsuit against the Auburn Police Department, claiming he was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned.
Brett Tracy II, 23, a candidate in Auburn's upcoming Republican mayoral primary race, has filed a notice of claim against the city, saying he was harassed and assaulted by Auburn police officers last winter in their response to a noise complaint at his apartment.
Tracy, president of the Cayuga County Landlord Association, said that in January, a group of police officers came to his residence responding to a noise complaint. Tracy said that when he let the officers inside, they told him he was being arrested for disobeying the city's noise ordinance. He said a radio, turned on by his father, had been playing in his home.
For disobeying the ordinance, Tracy thought he would have been issued an appearance ticket rather than being placed under arrest. Documents filed with Auburn City Court show that Tracy was charged with violating the noise ordinance and resisting arrest.
In court records, officers said that Tracy's neighbors repeatedly called the police as they could hear music from the street. Police responded to Tracy's home three times, each time advising him to turn the music down. Eventually, when he was told he was being arrested, Tracy pulled away from the officers several times. The report says it took three officers to take Tracy down for cuffing, and that Tracy had been trying to free himself.
Tracy disputes that account, saying he had been cooperating the whole time; nonetheless, he said, the officers "beat" him in his home.
Carl DePalma, Tracy's attorney, filed the notice of claim with the city clerk's office in April, an initial step that preserves an opportunity to proceed with a lawsuit. The notice is requesting the city to pay for Tracy's injuries — a spinal injury, contusion to Tracy's hand and soft tissue damage to his neck — and the loss of "valuable time from employment." The notice also says the city "failed to train and supervise" the officers who responded to the noise complaint.
The officers had "negligently, recklessly, intentionally and maliciously manhandled (Tracy), tossing him around and yanking him up without justification, both before he was taken into custody and after ... and continuing to abuse, harass and assault him while was restrained," the notice reads.
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Tracy, in an interview this week, told The Citizen that surveillance cameras at his home captured video of the incident. "The lies are all going to come out," he said.
At this time, because a notice of claim was filed, Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler said he could not comment on the incident.
Tracy had also been arrested for an unrelated incident in September, where he had been charged with endangering the welfare of a child. According to a police report in that case, Tracy had a child with him when he drove to an address to "engage in a physical altercation with the resident."
Tracy told The Citizen that he's "not that way," and believes the legal cases should not disqualify him from being elected mayor.
"I feel like if anyone meets me, they'll see I'm a mild-mannered person," he said.
Tracy said that he plans on taking the matter over the noise ordinance to trial and that "people should be standing up for their rights." As a relative of people in law enforcement and in the military, Tracy said he does not disrespect police officers. He also said he'd like more officers to join APD, saying the department is insufficiently staffed.
Tracy is up against Cayuga County Legislator Tim Lattimore in Auburn's Republican mayoral primary race. Lattimore could not be reached for comment on Tracy's legal situation.
The primary election is June 25. Lattimore, a former mayor and current Cayuga County legislator, has also secured the Conservative and Independent party ballot lines for the November general election. Incumbent Mayor Mike Quill will be on the Democratic and Working Families party lines.