Marlborough mum on police chief’s job status more than two months after Fishkill police shooting – Daily Freeman

MARLBOROUGH, NY – More than two months after Marlborough City Police Chief Gerald Cocozza participated in a police shooting of two people in the town of Fishkill, officials will not comment on the status of his job.

Cocozza was moonlighting as a Fishkill Police Department sergeant on Sunday, Feb. 27, and was at the scene when a police officer fatally shot two civilians in that town.

According to Marlborough officials, an active investigation into the shooting remains open. Cocozza does not appear to be on active duty in Marlborough and Marlborough officials will not release the police chief’s employment status or whether he was the officer who discharged the weapon.

In denying a request for Cocozza’s employment records that was filed by the Freeman on April 29, under provisions of the state’s Freedom of Information Act, the police department wrote, in part, “Your request regarding Chief Cocozza’s employment records and/or employment status in relation to an investigation of an officer involved in the February 2022 Fishkill Town shooting and whether his salary has been suspended as a result of such an investigation should be denied as it is still an ongoing investigation and an active investigation.

The Freeman also asked who took over as police chief. This question has not been answered either.

Marlborough Town Supervisor Scott Corcoran has not responded to calls or emails about Cocozza’s status since early March. Fishkill Town supervisor Ozzie Albra did not immediately respond to a message left Thursday.

The information requested by the Freeman, according to the city’s denial, “would interfere with law enforcement investigations or legal proceedings, and deprive Chief Cocozza of the right to a fair trial or impartial judgment.” Release of any of the requested documents at this time while the investigation is active and ongoing could compromise the integrity of the investigation,” according to the denial, which was posted May 5 and written on the Cocozza stationery, but not signed or dated.

In March, aAlong with confirming that Cocozza was involved in the Fishkill incident, Corcoran declined to comment on what he called an “open investigation” and a “police matter.”

On Sunday afternoon February 27, Cocozza was one of three Fishkill police officers at the scene when a knife-wielding man and a woman were fatally shot by police at the Views at Rocky Glen apartment complex, 402 Rocky Glen Road.

Cocozza and Fishkill police officers Joseph DiPalma and John Hurtado went to the resort to investigate a domestic dispute when they were approached by a man later identified as 29-year-old Michael M. Becerril, who was armed with a a knife, according to state police. Authorities said they were trying to disarm Becerril, who ignored their orders to drop the knife and did not respond when they deployed a Taser.

Becerril was said to have been fighting with an officer who was trying to arrest him when he was shot, police said. Police declined to say which officer or officers fired the shots on Sunday or how many shots were fired.

The woman, Chastity N. Wade, 30, was shot during the struggle. She “appears to have attempted to end the confrontation and disarm Becerril,” state police said.

Becerril was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla in critical condition, authorities said, who added that Wade was taken to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh in stable condition.

If a similar incident had occurred in Marlborough, city policy would require the officers involved to be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Corcoran said in March. Since Cocozza was not working in Marlborough when the incident happened, Corcoran said the police chief was under no obligation to take administrative leave.

But a copy of the Marlborough Police Department policy published in September 2010 by Cocozza states that “a member’s use of force will be accurately reported and subject to thorough and objective assessment. This policy will cover the use of force, whether on or off duty, within the city limits and also when performing duties outside the city limits of Marlborough.

At the time the policy was written, Cocozza had recently started working as a patrol officer in Fishkill where he was employed from 2009 to 2021, according to the SeeThroughNY website. The site also says Cocozza earned $34,027 as a Fishkill cop in 2021 and $106,134 in Marlborough that year.

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