ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County District Attorney David Soars announced today that Albany Police officer Luke Deer, 31, pled guilty to assault on Wednesday. The plea stems from an incident on March 16, 2019, in the area of 523 First Street in the City of Albany.
Police responded to reports of a loud party in that area. A melee ensued which led to the suspension of several officers.
Deer has been suspended from the department for the past two years and has been receiving treatment at Veteran Affairs. As part of his plea deal, Deer will continue with treatment for the next year and submit reports to the Court. He will also resign from his position with Albany Police.
It will also require Deer to drop his current challenge to department discipline and ending pending arbitration proceedings.
Sentencing has been adjourned for a year. If Deer continues treatment and has no further incidents then his current challenge to department discipline, and ending pending arbitration proceedings.
A March 8, 2021 arbitration decision re-instated one of the suspended officers to his job with back-pay, citing a lack of supervision and improper training. The incident also resulted in the City paying $100,000 to the victim of Deer’s actions.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins responded to Wednesday’s plea with the following statement.
“Today’s (Wednesday) guilty plea is another step towards bringing closure to what was a painful incident in this community. Moving forward, we remain committed to working with our community to build meaningful relationships and enhance public safety, ln addition, we will continue to always hold ourselves accountable and take the necessary actions to build trust, legitimacy and earn the public’s confidence in our department.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan also sent a statement on the plea.
“I commend Chief Hawkins for taking swift and decisive action to arrest and terminate Luke Deer following his unlawful actions on March 16, 2019. Today’s (Wednesday) guilty plea follows more than two years of demands for justice and accountability. We remain committed to implementing the recommendations of the Policing Reform Collaborative, including measures that would expedite disciplinary action and enhance the powers of our Community Policing Review Board.”