Sgt. Det. Stephen Cole-Hatchard of the Clarkstown PD has resigned following a series of controversies between he and the town board and his recent placement on administrative leave.
On Thursday, September 1 the Rockland County Times released documents the paper had obtained showing that at the request of Chief Michael Sullivan, Cole-Hatchard spent time on the job researching and writing missives aimed at discrediting Sheriff Louis Falco. A counterlawsuit filed against Cole-Hatchard by Supervisor George Hoehmann and town board members accused the detective and two others of surveilling elected officials, civic organizations and two black activist groups.
Cole-Hatchard in his own lawsuit maintains that he has been the subject of a witch hunt in response to his investigation of campaign contributions from former officer Michael Garvey to Supervisor George Hoehmann’s campaign. Garvey has sought reinstatement to the force since being forced to retire in 2008 due to a knee injury. Hoehmann voted against his dismissal at the time.
The Journal News published a resignation letter sent out by Cole-Hatchard: “While I can withstand this smear campaign, I will no longer allow my family or brother and sister police officers to suffer from this calculated and clever distraction…Therefore, with all rights reserved and because I am being forced into this decision, I hereby resign effective immediately, and have filed for service retirement.”
Special Prosecutor William Harrington told the Journal News, “Sgt. Cole-Hatchard’s resignation was not surprising or inappropriate. My investigative team looks forward to conducting a forensic analysis of his computer, which will not only confirm the allegations in the pending federal litigation against him and others but possibly more.”
Harrington is prosecuting a misconduct case the town board has filed against Police Chief Michael Sullivan. The clash between the cops and the board comes amidst the board’s attempt to audit the department and seek savings for taxpayers.