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News

New Paltz Police Officer Reinstated After Posting Controversial Rap Video Online

New Paltz Police Department.
New Paltz Police Department. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A New Paltz police officer will be reinstated after he was placed on administrative leave for posting a rap video, which contained lyrics asserting that there are only two genders and calling for the hanging of Hilary Clinton, on YouTube in June.

Per a settlement reached by the Town of New Paltz and the Police Benevolence Association, Officer Robert Sisco will reassume his position but will be on probation for the next four years

The settlement was signed by town Supervisor Neil Bettez at a Thursday, Oct.15 town board meeting. It stipulates that Sisco be given a 120-day disciplinary layoff (the majority of which has already been served since the video was posted in June), deliver a public apology to New Paltz residents, and serve 20 hours of community service overseen by members of the area's LGBTQ community.

"Unanimously the town council supported termination for the officer," said Councilman Dan Torres of the reinstatement. "However, our legal counsel informed us that the offense would not result in a dismissal from the arbitrator. 

"His actions were damaging to our police force and the community. It is my hope that the officer can prove us wrong and work to restore trust and faith of our community."

The video is just over a minute in length, and Sisco's verses are delivered over the beat of DJ Khaled's "We Takin' Over" from his squad car, while he is still in uniform. Among lyrics in his self-penned opus are the following:

  • Spit facts over feelings 'cuz your feelings are irrelevant/There are only two genders and Trump's still your president
  • Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina/This whole Coronavirus was sent here from China
  • Hilary is "Killary," we all know the reason/Where those emails at? We should hang her for treason
"All I have right now for our LGBTQ+ community -- our trans, non-binary, and intersex community members in particular -- is words while I ponder what I can actually do: I see you, love you, and want you to feel safe," said Village Trustee Alexandria Wojcik. "As a queer local elected (official), I too feel dismissed, erased, and unsafe. I am disappointed to learn that transphobic speech uttered (so publicly) while in the uniform that is supposed to serve and protect all of us is not a fireable offense.

“My hope is that we learn from our mistakes, as individuals and as a society, and that we can get better,” said Bettez at the meeting, which can be viewed here.

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