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Binghamton mayor rejects proposal for third-party report on violent police arrest amid attorney general investigation

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Vaughn Golden
/
WSKG
Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham is opposing a proposal to hire a third-party firm to investigate the arrest of Hamail Waddell after the New York Attorney General's Office confirmed it was looking into the incident. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham is rejecting a proposal by City Council Democrats to hire an independent firm to conduct an investigation into the violent arrest of a man earlier this month, now that the New York Attorney General’s Office is looking into the situation.

The three Democrats – Aviva Friedman, Angela Riley and Joe Burns – introduced a request for legislation Monday that would instruct the city to hire a third-party firm to look into the arrest, after video footage showed a Binghamton police officer kneeling on Hamail Waddell’s neck in the early morning hours New Year’s Day.

"We want elected officials to ensure that we are prioritizing the needs of our constituents," Riley said in an interview with WSKG Tuesday. "Our constituents want to see that something is being done.”

Riley said she had reached out to ask whether the attorney general’s office could look into the matter further, but was told that they couldn’t disclose whether an investigation was taking place.

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Vaughn Golden
/
WSKG
Binghamton City Council's Democratic minority is calling for an independent investigation into the New Year's Day arrest of Hamail Waddell.

Just days earlier, Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham announced that the attorney general’s office has requested records relating to the request. Kraham, as well as a spokesperson for the attorney general, confirmed Tuesday that the request for records was part of an investigation into Waddell’s arrest.

“An independent, third-party investigation by the Office of Attorney General is underway," Kraham wrote in a statement to WSKG. "The City shouldn’t do anything to undermine the AG’s review and the integrity of the fact-finding process. Because of that – and the lack of necessary support from myself or City Council to move the proposal forward — the request for legislation submitted by Council Democrats is a moot point.”

Binghamton police are currently conducting an internal investigation into the arrest. Kraham told WSKG in an interview last week that the investigation remains ongoing with no certain timeline for when it may wrap up.

While the Democrats’ request for legislation was brought up at City Council’s work session Monday, it was tabled because Friedman was absent and not enough members of the Council would sign onto the proposal to move it to a vote at a business meeting. Riley said they plan to bring it up again at the Council’s next work session, early next month.

Waddell pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest last week.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across upstate New York since 2016. After graduating with a degree in Journalism and Economics from Ithaca College, Vaughn reported for the Watertown Daily Times in the North Country before returning home to WSKG in 2021. Vaughn leads WSKG's Environment desk.