Utica, N.Y. – Utica Police say they will conduct a full investigation after we here at News Channel 2 presented them with video that our camera crew took around 1:30 P.M on Sunday at the scene of a large structure fire on South St..
The video shows the owner of the property that caught fire being yelled at by Utica Fire Marshal Gerald Foster to get back behind the yellow tape that was put up to keep people a far enough distance away. Foster shouted that he had told him to stay away from the property three times.
As the verbal confrontation between the two men approached that yellow tape, a Utica Police Officer appeared to come to the aid of the fire marshal, and in the process pushed the owner to the ground.
After receivng our video for comment, Utica Police released a statement Sunday afternoon stating the following:
“This afternoon the Utica Police Department was made aware of a video that was taken at an active fire scene at 333 South Street. This video shows a Utica Police officer engaging in physical contact with a subject which causes the subject to fall to the ground. This subject who was removed from the secured area inside of the police tape at this fire scene is the owner of the building which had been on fire. The officer was attempting to assist the Utica Fire Marshal and prevent this highly emotional individual from interfering with the Utica Fire Marshal’s investigation and to keep him away from a dangerous situation. As with any response to resistance that our officers are involved in, the Utica Police Department will conduct a full investigation into this incident. It is important for the public to remember that in addition to what is captured on video, several other factors need to be considered such as what occurred prior to what is captured on video as well as an individuals emotional status, response to commands, and the responsibility of our officers to maintain the integrity of a potential crime scene and to keep everyone involved safe.”
So far no disciplinary action has been taken against the officer.
The owner did not talk to NEWSChannel 2 at the scene.
We will be following up with police on Monday.