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Top Stories 2017: Officers on disability fired; Lake reargues suit

The Southold Town Board in August approved resolutions to fire two Southold police officers receiving disability payments for several years over an inability to perform their full duties. 

Joseph Wysocki and David Hunstein were both subject to separate hearings in February in which a hearing officer recommended they each be found unable to perform their duties as police officers and their employment be terminated. Mr. Wysocki was injured in 2010 and Mr. Hunstein in 2012.

In a 2016 State of the Town address, Supervisor Scott Russell cited the disability payments as a difficulty for the town and called for a limit on disability leave.

Garrett Lake, a police officer who was fired before his probationary period as a new officer ended last year, filed in September to reargue a lawsuit against the town and police department, seeking damages for loss of salary and benefits. In court documents, Mr. Lake claimed his employment was terminated for political pressure based on two arrests he made.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice William Ford included an affidavit from Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley, which cited civilian complaints of “overaggressive and overzealous” use of police tactics, in his July decision denying Mr. Lake’s earlier motion seeking reinstatement.

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