A police officer faces charges for trying to shake down businesses with the threat of issuing tickets against truck drivers, and also for allegedly pepper spraying and striking one driver with a baton.
Brian K. Hutchings, a police officer in Auburn, NY, has been suspended after being charged this week with 14 counts stemming from his performance of duties, including bribery and coercion tied to his dealings with truck drivers.
A grand jury indicted Hutchings for “using abusive police tactics” to get a business to forgive a debt he owed to the business. He tipped the business off for dates and times of state DOT truck inspections.
According to the indictment, Hutchings pepper sprayed one driver before hitting the man with a baton and holding him down on the ground.
He also faces counts of lying under oath to investigators about the incidents he was charged for.
According to the Post-Standard newspaper, another investigation by Cayuga County involves $30,000 to $70,000, which has been reported missing from the Auburn Police Benevolent Association. Hutchings reportedly was treasurer of the local benevolent association before resigning from the organization last fall.
Several of the incidents occurred in May 2008, according to Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann.
Witnesses were reportedly wary of coming forward because of Hutchings’ status as a police officer.
– by Charlie Morasch, staff writer