For Immediate Release: Oct. 22, 2018
Victim of Police Hit-and-Run and Cover-up Files Notice of Claim Against Montgomery County and Sheriff’s Department
AMSTERDAM, N.Y. — The teenage victim of a hit-and-run accident involving a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department investigator and of the subsequent attempt to cover up the crime has filed a notice of claim that he intends to file a federal lawsuit.
Julian Louscher, 18, was skateboarding on Northern Boulevard in the Town of Amsterdam on the evening of July 11, 2018, when he was struck from behind by a personal car driven by Sheriff’s Department Investigator Roberto Gracia. Mr. Louscher was thrown across the hood of the car, shattering the windshield. He suffered head, shoulder, arm and other injuries.
Investigator Gracia left the scene of the personal injury accident without calling an ambulance or notifying police, according to Mr. Louscher’s Notice of Claim. Another Sheriff’s Deputy allegedly learned of the hit-and-run and, with Investigator Gracia, conspired to conceal the crime.
The following day the Sheriff’s Department was alerted when it received a call from a third-party asking that it check on the well-being of a person who may have been hit by a car the night before. A subsequent investigation revealed the involvement of the two law enforcement officers.
The law firm E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is representing Mr. Louscher. The case will be filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department announced in August that Investigator Gracia and Deputy Theresa Pingitore had been arrested. Investigator Gracia is charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, a misdemeanor; tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony; and official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, for failing to report the accident. Deputy Pingitore is charged with official misconduct. The Schenectady County District Attorney has been named the special prosecutor in the case. The criminal investigation is continuing.
“Mr. Louscher suffered personal injuries and violations of his civil rights when he was struck by a car driven by a law enforcement officer who then conspired with another law enforcement officer to cover up the crime,” said attorney John F. Harwick, a partner in E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy. “Two individuals sworn to uphold the law not only broke the law but engaged in conduct designed to thwart an investigation and impede justice.”
The lawsuit will allege that Investigator Gracia inflicted personal injuries on Mr. Louscher and violated his civil rights and, with Deputy Pingitore, attempted to cover up the crime in the course of their employment with the Sheriff’s Department. The lawsuit will also allege that the Sheriff’s Department and the County failed to properly hire, train and supervise the two employees.
For Further Information:
John F. Harwick
Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy
Behan Communications Inc.