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Currier: Village police investigating Kirby’s claims

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MASSENA - Village police are conducting an internal investigation into claims made by Heather M. Kirby that she was both physically and sexually assualted by members of the village police department while she was in police custody on Friday.

“We’re conducting an internal investigation,” Village Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said. “It’s a personnel matter right now, so I’m not able to comment until the investigation is complete.”

The incident began shortly after 1 a.m. Friday when police were called to the Harte Haven Plaza to respond to reports of a female slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle in the parking lot.

Kirby, 27, of 92 state Route 345, Potsdam, was charged with one count of driving while intoxicated, one count of obstruction of governmental administration, one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, and one count of consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

According to court documents, Kirby, who refused to take a breathalyzer, became beligerent while being transported to the police station. She also refused to answer questions on whether or not she understood her Miranda rights and DWI arrest warnings.

Inside the vehicle, which was running when police arrived on the scene, they found two empty beer cans, as well as a smoking device and baggie, which both allegedly contained marijuana.

Police say that while she was in custody Kirby slammed a department-owned phone against the wall, and refused to comply with orders from officers. Police said she also had to be restrained in order to be moved to the holding cell, where she would be held overnight.

Kirby alleges that an officer put his hand down her pants while she was being arrested. She also said she suffered from injuries to her back and tailbone, as well as bruises to her arms.

“I have bruises all down my arms from them manhandling me last night,” she said.

Officials from both CAVA and the New York State Police spoke with Kirby Friday morning, and Kirby further alleges that village police rejected the state police’s recommendation that the CAVA representative be allowed to stay with her while she was in custody.

A village police matron was at the station for over 12 hours Friday while Kirby was in custody. Prior to her arraignment on the charges, Kirby was transported on two separate occasions to Massena Memorial Hospital after suffering from apparent anxiety attacks.

After being released from MMH late Friday afternoon, she was arraigned by Acting Village Justice James M. Crandall and released under the supervision of the probation department.

Mr. Currier said he in hoping to see the results of the department’s investigation later this week.

“Hopefully, it will be ready within a couple days,” he said.

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