Plea deal accepted in ‘road rage’ incident

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Updated: 6/17 11:29 pm

GLENVILLE, N.Y. – A plea deal was accepted by a Schenectady City police officer in court Tuesday.

John Hotaling, 46, was accused of flashing a handgun during an off-duty road rage incident in April 2013. A Glenville grandfather claimed he, his son and his grandson were threatened by Hotaling during the dispute on Maple Road.

The 20-year veteran investigator was charged with two counts of Menacing in the incident and placed on 30 days unpaid leave from the Schenectady Police Department.

Hotaling accepted the plea deal in Glenville Town Court Tuesday.

In the plea deal, Hotaling must be evaluated by a licensed anger management psychologist or psychiatrist and enroll in whatever treatment plan is prescribed, according to Special Prosecutor Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy.

Murphy said Hotaling must also complete 25 hours of community service at a location determined by the court, remain arrest free for the next six months, and surrender any and all firearms. Hotaling must obey an order or protection keeping him away from the victims in the case, per the deal.

Murphy said his office insisted on Hotaling resigning from his position since even a criminal conviction would not have barred him from receiving a pension.

"Our first order of business was to make sure that Mr. Hotaling resigned his position as a Schenectady Police Officer. While I am frustrated that he will receive his pension, that is what the law allows,” Murphy said. “The legislature has not passed a law that permits the forfeiture of a pension based on a criminal conviction for either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a result, no matter what the resolution of this case, Hotaling would always be able to receive a pension.”

Jeff Arnow was at the court appearance. He said Hotaling pointed the gun at him during the 2013 incident and was angry about the requirements of the plea deal.

“He doesn’t even admit that he did wrong,” he said.

Hotaling’s attorney Andrew Safranko said the case is sealed and dismissed if the former investigator follows the terms of his deal and remains arrest free for six months.

“Essentially like it never happened before,” he said.

Safranko said Hotaling could apply for a similar job and a pistol permit after six months.

“It’s my understanding he would be able to have a carry permit with respect to that,” he said. “And certainly like any other citizen, he could reapply for a pistol permit in the future.”

But that’s not enough for Arnow.

“It’s a slap on the wrist,” he said. “Once again, we have a police officer who is walking away from what he did wrong.”

Safranko said the plea deal was a punishment for Hotaling because Hotaling was required to retire.

“That’s a significant monetary loss,” he said. “It’s a significant loss for him.”

Arnow said he believes more should have been done such as stripping Hotaling of his pension.

“Justice has not been served,” he said. “The common person has been let down today.”

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