© 2024 WSKG

601 Gates Road
Vestal, NY 13850

217 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY 14850

FCC Public Files:
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

WSKG thanks our sponsors...

Ithaca homeless shelter employee who used chokehold on client no longer works at facility

St. John's Community Services Exterior
Aurora Berry
St. John's Community Services is the only homeless shelter in Tompkins County.

Tompkins County’s only homeless shelter announced that the employee who was filmed using a chokehold on a client is no longer working there.

Last month, the Ithaca Voice posted a video showing an employee at St. John’s Community Services in Ithaca pinning a shelter client to the stairs with his arm across the man’s throat.

The employee threatened to injure the client, telling him, “I will hurt you,” and using profanity.

In a statement, George Liacopoulos, the deputy CEO of St. John’s Community Services, said the organization “deeply regret[s] the shocking event.”

Liacopoulos told WSKG the organization would not reveal whether the employee was fired or resigned voluntarily, only that the staff person was “no longer employed by SJCS.”

In security footage from St. John’s, also obtained by the Ithaca Voice, another employee is seen in the room. The video shows the second employee standing behind the first, but not directly intervening during the altercation.

The organization stated that the second employee “will not return to work in the shelter.”

The shelter stated that the situation was investigated and it was “clear that both staff involved did not respond to the situation in a manner that is consistent with how staff are trained, nor with our values, policies, and expectations as an organization.”

The organization stated they would be “taking lessons learned from this situation to better prevent that this does not occur again, and to improve the safety of the shelter for guests and staff alike.”

Liacopoulos declined a follow-up interview with WSKG to elaborate on the investigation or next steps for the shelter.