CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- The twist and turns of the saga between suspended Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan and the Town of Clarkstown grew Tuesday during a town board meeting when the town's attorney announced that a former police sergeant had removed the hard drive from his computer and later replaced it.
Former Police Sgt. Stephen Cole-Hatchard, who resigned after being put on leave, is accused of removing the hard drive from his police office computer and later replacing it, said Clarkstown attorney Lino Sciarretta.
"The very act of removing the hard drive leads to numerous possibilities which must be investigated. The timing of his sudden resignation also suggests the possibility of a cover up of improper or illegal activities," Sciarretta said.
The former sergeant, who worked for the Special Investigation Unit, has filed a federal lawsuit against the town, as has Sullivan. The town has countersued.
"The counterclaims alleged, among other things, that Cole-Hatchard, Sullivan and others had engaged in illegal and inappropriate profiling, as well as other improper and illegal activities, while Cole-Hatchard served as the Director of the Special Intelligence Unit," Sciaretta added.
After receiving the new information from Lino, the board voted to allow William Harrington, the town's special prosecutor in the case against Sullivan, to include the information in his investigation.
"Because Cole-Hatchard reported directly to Sullivan, it expands the investigation to include the chief," said Vincent Balascio, Clarkstown director of Finance, and a spokesman for Supervisor George Hoehmann.
Sullivan's attorney Richard Glickel, said Cole-Hatchard did not report directly to the chief, but worked out of the district attorney's office and reported to the Chief of Detectives in that office.
"Of course he was under the supervision of the chief, but the chief was not involved with the unit," said Glickel. "The charges against the chief are absolute nonsense. They (the town) have leveled all of these charges against the chief and now they are trying to find some proof. That's not how an investigation works. First you investigate, then you charge."
Glickel also said Sullivan would welcome an investigation by the Department of Justice into the entire matter in an effort to clear his name and that of the department's.
"The Supervisor and Town Board continue to believe that we have among the finest police departments anywhere. We will not, however, stand by and allow the improper and possibly illegal actions of a small number of individuals to compromise the integrity or reputation of this Department," Sciaretta said.
Cole-Hatchard has said he was being targeted for looking into political donations made by former Sgt. Michael Garvey to Supervisor George Hoehmann’s 2015 campaign.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.