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Judge rules it’s too late to discipline officers in Troy Hodge death

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 18:49:19-04

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — In early March, New York Attorney General Leticia James released findings of the investigation into the death of Troy Hodge at the hands of Lockport Police in June of 2019.

James’ office revealed there was insufficient evidence that a crime had been committed by officers and her investigation was closed.

Nine days later, court documents show the City of Lockport released findings of its own internal investigation that reveals the officers did not follow department policy and “used excessive and unjustifiable physical force” against Troy Hodge. It also claims the officers “violated department policy as it relates to courtesy and conducting business in public.”

It was June 16, 2019 when officers responded to the call for an “out of control individual” on Park Avenue. After arriving, police say Hodge threatened to go into the house and get a gun. Officers tried to put him in handcuffs, but he collapsed at the scene and died at the hospital.

According to court documents filed in Niagara County Court, the City of Lockport Police Department wanted to discipline the officers for not following department policy.

Court documents paint a picture of what one officer did that night that violates excessive force.

“Officer Bonito improperly and unjustifiably used a level of physical force against Troy Hodge as she positioned her foot on the neck area of Mr. Hodge as he was laying face down on the ground and handcuffed. Four other officers were also present at this time. She did this with the knowledge that too much pressure to the neck presents a danger to the health and safety of a person.”

The police union firing back, saying the city released it’s investigation and wanted bring disciplinary action against the officers 21 months after the death of Troy Hodge instead of the 10 days required by the union contract.

Thursday, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso ruled the City of Lockport can never bring disciplinary charges against these four officers- citing specifically the city’s violation of the union contract time constraints.

Fatima Hodge, Troy Hodge’s mother is suing the City of Lockport’s Police Department. Her attorneys say they are amending their complaint to include this new, expanded information.