Details emerging about Columbia Co. Sheriff's handling of Kinderhook Four case
Kenneth C. Crowe II is reporting for the Times Union on the latest details to emerge concerning the late night brawl over the July 4 weekend at the Kinderhook home of gym owner Alex Rosentrach and County Sheriff's Deputy Kelly Briscoe Rosentrach. Local business owner Harold Handy was allegedly assaulted at a holiday party, suffering injuries that sent him to the intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center Hospital during the early morning hours of July 5. However, after Briscoe Rosenstrach's colleagues in the Sheriff's Office responded to the scene that night, they told their superiors the man injured in the fight was not severely hurt and that partygoers were too drunk to be interviewed, according to deposition testimony taken by State Police. Then Lt. Louis C. Bray III told the State Police Special Investigations Unit on August 10, that Sgt. Peter Grzeskow, commander of the overnight shift, called him at 2 a.m. July 5 to report an assault at Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach’s residence. A 911 call sent deputies and the emergency squad to the residence at 1:27 a.m. “He told me that there was a gathering there and that someone was assaulted. He told me that the rescue squad was tending to the victim, who was uncooperative and intoxicated,” Bray said in his deposition. Now Captain Bray said, based on the information he received, there was "nothing severe and that no one was in any condition at this time to aid the investigation. I instructed Sgt. Grzeskow to have the deputies conduct whatever initial investigation that they could at that time and to get contact information for everyone that was present,” Bray said. “I also told him that patrols would follow up with the victim once he sobered up and received any needed medical treatment.” Later that day, Bray said Sheriff David Bartlett told him Handy was in the ICU. Bray then contacted Sheriff's Office Senior Investigator William Foster to start an investigation on either July 6 or July 7. Bartlett, who is running for re-election this year, said the case was properly handled. Maria Haberfeld, professor of police science at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said this case demonstrates the challenges facing police agencies in small towns. “We have all these police departments where everybody knows everybody where it’s hard to investigate your own,” Haberfeld said. An officer who would have to determine whether a person is too intoxicated to be interviewed is compromised in making that decision if it involves a coworker, Haberfeld said. “The best thing is to immediately notify an external agency.” After the State Police Investigations Unit took over the case, the Rosenstrachs, Bryan Haag, an IRS law enforcement agent; and Cory Galord, a contractor, were each indicted on felony counts of second-degree gang assault and first-degree unlawful imprisonment and accused of restraining and attacking Harold Handy during the party. All four face additional charges. Read the full story in the Times Union.