PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County Legislator Simon L. Conroy faces a misdemeanor charge of second-degree obstructing governmental administration in connection with a traffic stop last month.
State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said troopers first observed Conroy, 46, of Beekmantown, on Arizona Avenue in the Town of Plattsburgh and stopped him on Alabama Avenue "for multiple traffic violations" at about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29.
"At the time of the stop, Conroy was belligerent and hostile with responding law enforcement," Fleishman continued.
"When asked, he refused to provide proper documents during the traffic stop."
The incident initiated an investigation which led to Conroy's arrest Thursday. Fleishman said he was released on appearance tickets returnable to Plattsburgh Town Court.
A court representative told The Press-Republican that he is due to appear Thursday, Feb. 4, for alleged traffic infractions of speeding and operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone. Fleishman confirmed he is slated for arraignment on the misdemeanor charge at 4 p.m. that day.
CONROY: NO OBSTRUCTION
Reached via email, Conroy said there was no obstruction and that he had cooperated with police.
"The speeding was an honest mistake as Arizona Ave by the airport is a big wide long open road," he said.
"I only used my phone once I was pulled aside safely on a driveway and the call I made was to law enforcement regarding the way the unmarked vehicle was following me too closely without initiating any lights to signal a pull over."
His Plattsburgh-based attorney, David Gervais, told The Press-Republican that he and Conroy plan to try and get the speeding violation reduced, and will be seeking either a reduction of the obstructing charge or, possibly, a trial.
According to Gervais, prior to the traffic stop, Conroy was planning to meet up with a friend for coffee who had moved, so he went to the wrong address.
Conroy knocked at the door and the garage there, then left, Gervais continued, but someone called the police.
"There was an investigation for that which is somewhat understandable, but the reason Simon had to be there was also quite understandable."
Fleishman said she could not comment on those details.
During the stop, Conroy became frustrated, in part because he felt he did not need to be handcuffed but also because officers did not cuff him with his hands in front of him, as he had requested due to a hurt shoulder, Gervais said.
"Especially since the whole incident started with a speeding ticket, and the next thing you know six police cars and an ambulance were there, so he was rightfully irritated."
Fleishman said it is State Police protocol to handcuff defendants behind their backs, "for our safety as well as theirs."
She noted that Plattsburgh City Police and the Clinton County Sheriff's Office provided assistance where Conroy was stopped.
"We were concerned for his safety, so we contacted rescue and he was ultimately taken to the hospital for an evaluation at the time of the incident."
This was not Conroy's first encounter with law enforcement.
In September 2019, he was charged in connection with multiple incidents which led to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal trespass and fourth-degree stalking, as well as disorderly conduct, a violation.
As part of a plea deal, Conroy pleaded guilty to fourth-degree stalking and resisting arrest on Jan. 23, 2020. Plattsburgh City Court confirmed that his sentencing on those counts is still slated for Jan. 20, 2021.
Gervais said Conroy has been on a year of interim probation during which he has had to show good conduct. At sentencing, that is set to translate to a one-year period of conditional discharge. Gervais explained that Conroy can avoid jail time if he is not arrested during that time.
"At this point, there is no jail in Simon's future."
On Friday, Clinton County Legislature Chair Mark Henry said it was unfortunate that Conroy had been arrested again.
"We can only hope for the best for him and we wish him well."
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