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Suspect Accuses NY Detectives Of Stealing Cash In Warrantless Search

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Annabelle Bamforth
New Hampshire-based writer Annabelle Bamforth is TruthInMedia.com's editor-in-chief, focused on breaking the left/right paradigm through new media and local politics. To share a news tip, contact annabelle@truthinmedia.com.

Albany, NY- An Albany man who was arrested last summer for allegedly selling crack cocaine to a police informant in 2013 has accused detectives of stealing thousands of dollars in cash from his apartment in a warrantless search.

Joshua Horne, 37, was arrested on a sealed indictment on June 18th, 2014 near an apartment building where he was living. Before Horne was transported to booking, detectives seized his wallet and keys. According to the Albany Times Union, surveillance footage showed detectives using Horne’s keys to try several doors on the block trying to find a building that would be unlocked by the keys. Once the door matching Horne’s key was found, a separate surveillance video showed a detective using one of Horne’s keys to open his mailbox. After the detectives checked Horne’s mail, they entered his apartment and were reportedly inside for about 20 minutes. The police did not have a warrant to search Horne’s apartment.

A piece of one of the surveillance videos released by the Times Union shows three investigators entering Horne’s apartment and exiting with a shoebox. Horne claimed that the shoebox contained $3,300 in cash.

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Detectives Scott Gavigan and Anthony Scalise and Sgt. Richard Gorleski denied there was any cash and reported that the box contained crack cocaine and marijuana. According to the Times Union, police records revealed that the detectives had violated department policy in seizing the drugs and failing to photograph and properly document the evidence. A police report showed drugs being listed, but not the shoebox itself, and the report did not include a location where the drugs were collected. Police never charged Horne with possession of the drugs.

“There are procedural issues because they didn’t seize this as evidence and they chose to do the computerized property report with missing information,” Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff said. “They’ve all received refresher training on what the (criminal procedure law) dictates in terms of search warrants, and leaving receipts at the location of searches. It’s also time for us to refresh everybody on the current policies and procedures.”

“The police had no right whatsoever to go into that apartment. When they went into that apartment, therefore, they committed a crime,” said Cheryl Coleman, Horne’s attorney.

Gavigan testified in a separate case two weeks ago that Horne was not charged with drug possession because of the “lack of the warrant.” Gavigan also testified that he and the other detectives entered Horne’s residence out of concern that there may have been an injured person inside, and that Horne was “sweating profusely” when his apartment door was unlocked. None of the video footage shows Horne anywhere near the apartment during the search; Coleman said that Horne was being transported to booking while the search was taking place and that Gavigan’s testimony is false.

Coleman further stated that Gavigan’s testimony about a possible injured person in Horne’s home conflicts with earlier claims. Coleman said that during Horne’s pre-trial hearing last year, the Albany County assistant district attorney in charge of the case told Judge Thomas Breslin that detectives claimed they entered Horne’s residence without a warrant because he was lying about where he lived and the detectives were concerned Horne would get someone to remove drugs before they could return with a search warrant, and they wanted to see if anyone was inside. No mention of an injured person was made at the time, said Coleman.

“You’re talking about the integrity of a whole unit. Why doesn’t this bother anybody?” Coleman said.

The District Attorney’s office said on Tuesday that the agency will not pursue further investigation of the officers until the Albany Police Department finishes their internal probe. Coleman said she will not be representing Horne in civil proceedings on the matter, but will use this incident to request that Albany County District Attorney David Soares appoint a special prosecutor and investigate the officers involved in the accusations. Horne is currently free on bond, and will be facing a trial for drug-dealing charges.

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