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Gag Order: Upstate NY City Barred From Speaking About Shooting Involving VT Deputy, Report Says

Saratoga Springs Police body camera footage showing an officer involved shooting near Broadway and Caroline Street early Sunday, Nov. 20.
Saratoga Springs Police body camera footage showing an officer involved shooting near Broadway and Caroline Street early Sunday, Nov. 20. Photo Credit: City of Saratoga Springs

City officials in upstate New York have been barred from making further public comments about the officer-involved shooting of a Vermont sheriff’s deputy, WNYT reports

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office got a temporary restraining order from a Supreme Court judge prohibiting Saratoga Springs officials from talking about or releasing video or audio from the incident, the outlet said.

The shooting, which was captured on officer-worn body camera footage that was released hours after the incident, happened at around 3 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, near Broadway and Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs.

Police said the off-duty deputy was attacked by a group of six people, prompting him to pull a gun.

That’s when one of the men in the group fired, leading to an exchange of seven or eight gunshots, police said.

The shootout was heard by several Saratoga Springs police officers, who can be seen on nearby security footage arriving within seconds.

In the footage, officers are heard repeatedly yelling at the deputy to drop his gun, but he refuses. Police then open fire, striking the deputy numerous times.

"As they make that turn what they see is the Vermont sheriff's deputy standing on the sidewalk," Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino said at a press conference held hours later.

"His gun leveled and moving from side to side, pointing the gun. You hear the officers repeatedly, loudly, direct the deputy to drop the gun, get on the ground, again and again."

Both the deputy and his girlfriend, who police said was grazed by the gunfire, were taken to a hospital and were in stable condition.

Police said the deputy had a total of 10 bullet wounds.

The other man involved in the shooting was also injured and is expected to survive, according to police.

The three Saratoga Springs police officers involved in the shooting were not injured. They have since been placed on leave while State Police investigate the incident

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Saratoga County DA Karen Heggen told WNYT the unprecedented release of information regarding the shooting has had a chilling effect on witnesses and could taint the jury pool.

“I didn’t want to do this, but felt compelled to ensure the integrity of the investigation and protect the constitutional rights of all involved,” Heggen told the outlet.

Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino blasted the move in a statement released Wednesday evening and vowed the city would appeal.

“While the district attorney claims to be seeking to protect constitutional rights, she has blatantly violated the First Amendment by obtaining a jurisdictionally defective order, without notice to the city, which deprives elected officials of their right to inform the public of profoundly important events unfolding in their city,” he said. 

“I have spoken to (Saratoga Springs) Mayor Ron Kim and the city intends to fight this in court promptly and vigorously.”

Sunday’s shooting was the first time in 26 years a Saratoga Springs police officer fired their weapon in the line of duty.

Read the full report from WNYT here.  

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