Colonie police officer suspended after bar fight

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COLONIE, N.Y. –  A Colonie Police Officer has been charged with assault
following an investigation into a bar fight that happened in King Neptune's Bar
in Lake George Village in August of 2012.

The Warren County Sheriff's Office says 36-year-old Robert Willey, of Colonie,
has been charged Friday with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.

A 39-year-old male victim suffered the loss of three teeth following a fight
at the bar. The subsequent investigation led to the identification of Willey as
the individual responsible.

Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider says the alleged fight involved four or
five officers from his department and state corrections officers.

“We know exactly who's been involved. We've talked to everyone that's
been involved, including Officer Willey prior to his arrest. So we know pretty
much what happened. It's been described as similar to a rugby scrum,”
Heider said.

“There was a fight in the bar and an individual was
assaulted wherein he lost three teeth as a result of it,” said Lt. Steve
Stockdale with the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities describe it as a classic bar fight back in August
between four or five Colonie police officers going up against state corrections
officers, but declined to say what the exact cause was.

It happened after
midnight on a Saturday night and drinking was involved, which authorities say
made getting information more of a challenge.

“In this case there were witnesses to locate and
interview, surveillance video to acquire and put into a readable format and we
want to make sure due diligence is done before we make any accusations,” said
Lt. Stockdale.

Heider says he found the accusations surprising and disturbing. “He's
in very good standing. He's done a terrific job for us as an officer but that
doesn't take away the seriousness of what we're dealing with here today.”

Willey has been with the Colonie Police Department since 2010. Heider
confirms the department is conducting its own internal investigation into the
matter.

“It's what I would call stupid behavior. It's something we don't
condone but it doesn't necessarily mean that in any shape or form it infringes
his ability to impart what we consider extraordinary police work for us,”
Heider said.

In the meantime, Willey has been suspended without pay.

Due diligence in this case took seven months. The Colonie
Police Department conducted its own internal investigation into the matter. Chief
Steven Heider tells NEWS10 the incident has left him frustrated. 

“This is another one of those situations where off
duty conduct, alcohol involved. It's something that concerns us tremendously.
They are humans, they make mistakes. We just wish they would learn not to make
these kinds of mistakes,” said Heider.

 

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