FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Surveillance video showed Sgt. Dean Watkins of the Fort Edward Police Department using a stun gun on a man in police custody. Robert Murat-Hinton was seated with his hands and feet handcuffed.
According to Washignton County District Attrorney, Anthony Jordan, Robert Murat-Hinton was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and a menacing charge on July 8. He was accused of yielding a knife and threatening several people at McCrea Tavern.
On July 9, Murat-Hinton was in custody at Fort Edward Police Department. In the video, he is seen having just slammed his feet into the wall of the hallway. Pieces of drywall can be seen on the ground. From there, a disagreement arose between Murat-Hinton and Sgt. Watkins that sparked the incident.
“What are you going to do about it? I’m going to tase you, you (expletive) ingrate,” Watkins said.
Watkins then beelined toward Murat-Hinton and tased him. In response, Murat-Hinton fell to the ground and screamed. Sgt. Watkins told him to knock it off and added that he was obstructing property.
“Now sit up in the (expletive) chair. You’ll have a reason to go to the hospital,” Watkins said to Murat-Hinton.
According to the Mayor of the Village of Fort Edward, Matthew Traver, two officers were put on administrative leave due to a separate incident last week—Sgt. Watkins and the Chief of Police, Justin Derway. Watkins was put on administrative leave due to falsifying time card documents.
The Mayor confirmed there is an overall investigation into officers Sgt. Watkins and Chief Derway, that includes the tasing incident through the Village of Fort Edward.
“The VIllage of Fort Edward immediately took action to make sure there was adequate public safety coverage,” Jordan said. “They have the sheriff’s department and state police also covering as backup to assist as needed.”
Jordan stated the investigation related to the tasing incident got referred out to a special prosecutor in the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. News10 reached out to Schenectady County’s District Attorney and did not receive a response.
Derway and Watkins were previously instructors through the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services where they taught Field Training Officer Instruction since 2015. The state revoked their certifications to teach in April 2020.
In addition to Murat-Hinton’s charges from July 8, he was also charged with criminal mischief due to the damage he did to the police station building on July 9.
Jordan said Murat-Hinton pleaded guilty to felony criminal mischief in full satisfaction of all the open charges. His sentencing was last Friday where he was sentenced to one and a half to three years in state prison as a second felony offender.
Murat-Hinton has obtained council through the Washington County Public Defender’s Office with Supervising Assistant Public Defender Dustin Bruhns.