SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Saratoga Springs police officer has been placed on administrative leave after the police chief said he used force during a traffic stop.
Police Chief Gregory Veitch said Officer Nathan Baker conducted a traffic stop on 35-year-old Adam Rupeka of Troy around 3:34 p.m. May 16 on High Rock Avenue in front of the Hampton Inn.
Rupeka was charged with Having an Obstructed View and Resisting Arrest.
Rupeka runs a group called Capital District Cop Block. He said he received information from a concerned citizen claiming that the Saratoga Police Department was abusive to citizens. He then drove to Saratoga and flipped off a police officer while driving.
The incident was recorded by Rupeka and a partial video of the encounter was posted to YouTube. Officer Baker was not wearing a body camera during the incident. Chief Veitch said city owned downtown security cameras “do not clearly capture the area of the traffic stop.”
Private security video footage has not been located by police.
Chief Veitch said Officer Baker used force, including the use of pepper spray. Rupeka was treated by medical personnel at the police station and the Saratoga Hospital Emergency Room, according to the chief.
Local attorney Terry Kindlon said Rupeka’s right to Freedom of Speech allowed him to flip off the officer.
“He had no right to tell him to pull over,” Kindlon said. “Once the car had pulled over, he had no right to tell him to get out of the car.”
Chief Veitch released said the following in a press released:
“I am aware of the video that has been posted on YouTube and on the Facebook page of “Capital District Cop Block.” I take very seriously any allegation of improper use of force made against any officer of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and I have been in contact with Mr. Rupeka regarding this incident.”
An internal investigation is being conducted, and Officer Baker was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Chief Veitch said he could not comment further while the investigation was ongoing.
Rupeka is scheduled to appear in Saratoga Springs City Court on May 21 for an arraignment.