SUNY Plattsburgh Police respond following on-campus traffic stop

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:33 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:53 AM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A video of an arrest on SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus last week involving a Black student and white officers is circulating on social media.

“We pull over cars daily without headlights on and send them on their merry way,” said SUNY Plattsburgh Police Chief Patrick Rascoe.

But Rascoe says this case was different. After being pulled over, the officer working the night shift asked the driver -- a SUNY Plattsburgh student -- for her license and registration. When the officer ran it, the registration was suspended. “The registration had been suspended by New York state DMV for no insurance,” he explained.

Upon further investigation, the officer also found the car’s inspection was fraudulent. The car was not registered to the 20-year-old student who lives on campus but is from downstate. Rascoe says without registration and inspection, the car can’t drive.

Police dashcam video recorded the entire incident, including when two other officers arrived on scene over the course of the hour while they were waiting for the car to be towed and the student processed. “The driver was initially cooperative in coming to the station to be processed for the two misdemeanors,” Rascoe said. “At some point, the driver of the vehicle became argumentative and decided to not participate in the traffic stop anymore, walking away from the scene.”

The dashcam video is being reviewed by SUNY lawyers. WCAX was not given access to it.

Chief Rascoe says one of the officers grabbed the student’s wrist, attempting to stop her from walking away and the other two escorted her back to the cruiser. The driver was arrested for resisting arrest. He says while in the cruiser, the driver was also verbally abusive and hit the officer.

One of her passengers started to record the event, later posting the video to social media. We were not given permission to use that social media video but it shows the student pinned against the patrol car.

“The suspect was never handcuffed, she was brought to the station, processed, and released,” Rascoe said.

SUNY Plattsburgh president Alexander Enyedi released a statement on the arrest over the weekend, saying he spoke with the students involved and they are traumatized over the event.

Chief Rascoe says his officers handled the situation correctly and followed protocols but always are looking for ways to do better “The path forward is for us to continue to provide the best service we can to this community and recognize that people come from different backgrounds and have different experiences with police and being ever mindful of that,” he said.

The student did not respond to our request for an interview.

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