The Saratoga County sheriff’s sergeant captured on video smacking a young man was arrested and resigned Monday, as the Sheriff’s Office revealed it is investigating the conduct of two other deputies present for the incident.
Shawn R. Glans, 48, of Moreau was charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a noncriminal violation, for the Friday morning confrontation with two men in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Halfmoon. He was arraigned in Halfmoon Town Court and released, pending prosecution.
About three hours before he was charged, Glans resigned from the position he has held with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office since June 1995, Sheriff Michael Zurlo said.
He was a sergeant, and has been a police officer for at least 24 years when counting time he spent with other police agencies. So he will be eligible for retirement benefits, which will not be affected by the resignation.
The case against Glans began with the posting on a social media website of a video of him confronting, apparently slapping and cursing a young man in the pre-dawn hours Friday.
The video shows an officer who has been identified as Glans, asking a young man to open his car, where a rifle had been spotted in the back seat. When the man correctly replies that he does not have to consent to a search, because the officers did not have a search warrant (or probable cause that a crime had been committed), the officer curses the man repeatedly.
Zurlo said two officers were with Glans at the time of the incident, and their actions were under investigation Monday. They are not accused of having physical contact with the accuser, Colin Fitch of Saratoga Springs, but they did not notify the Sheriff’s Office of what they witnessed, officials said.
“That is going to be part of the internal investigation,” Zurlo said.
The official misconduct charge, punishable by up to a year in Saratoga County Jail, alleges Glans committed an “unauthorized act” in an effort to obtain a benefit, in this case the car keys that Fitch had, said Acting Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. The harassment charge alleges he had unwanted physical contact with Fitch by slapping him in the head.
In addition to his job with the Sheriff’s Office, Glans has worked part-time with the South Glens Falls Police Department for more than 12 years, averaging about one shift per week over the past three months.
South Glens Falls Police Chief Kevin Judd said Glans had been suspended from his department until further notice.
Police released more details Monday as to how Glans and the two other deputies — whose names were not released — came into contact with Fitch and another man at about 3:30 a.m. Friday in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Officers had been sent to the area at about 2 a.m. when an unspecified business owner reported a vehicle with two men who were acting suspiciously and had walked into woods in the area.
The sheriff said officers could not locate the vehicle, but when checking the parking lot of the nearby Wal-Mart, found Fitch and another man walking to their car from the store.
Zurlo would not say if the vehicle was searched despite Fitch’s protestations. He also would not say if the gun was seized or found to be legally or illegally possessed.
Fitch was not injured.
Zurlo said Fitch posted the video on the Sheriff’s Office’s site on Facebook at 8:31 p.m. Friday, and sheriff’s officers contacted him at 9:09 p.m. to discuss the video after it was noticed.
Zurlo said he will continue to have a “zero tolerance” policy for police officers who don’t follow the law. A sheriff’s officer was convicted of a federal felony earlier this year for assisting in what he thought were cocaine deliveries.
Zurlo said he believes the problems were an aberration and not representative of the department he was elected to head last year.
“If you do your job right, you have nothing to worry about,” he said.
Glans had been the subject of disciplinary action in 1995 when he was issued traffic tickets for an on-duty car crash in 1995 in which he seriously injured a person whose vehicle he hit head-on in Wilton.
Glans was accompanied to court by a lawyer, former Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Chauvin. He did not return a phone call for comment later Monday.