Crosier to seek $100K in damages for removal from public hearing

— Still frame from video recorded by Ron Jordan

Berne Supervisor Dennis Palow, at the dais, gestures to Albany County Sheriff’s deputies to remove Kevin Crosier, who’s standing to the right side of the frame, from a public hearing held on Feb. 20 in what Crosier’s attorney says was a violation of Crosier’s civil rights. 

BERNE — Following the Berne Town Board’s silence after he requested an apology, Kevin Crosier has notified the town that he is preparing to sue for at least $100,000, plus legal fees, over his dramatic, unjustified removal from a public hearing in February by Albany County Sheriff’s deputies. 

Crosier, a Berne resident and former Democratic supervisor of the town, had been speaking before the GOP-elected town board at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo auditorium on Feb. 20 to give his views on a proposed ATV road-access law when Supervisor Dennis Palow, a Republican, interrupted him and ultimately ordered deputies to remove him from the meeting, despite the fact that Crosier had not broken any rules. 

Palow had also displayed on a large monitor visible to the audience a photo that ostensibly showed Crosier driving a side-by-side off-road vehicle along the side of a roadway — the same photo that had been circulating online by those in support of the law to portray Crosier as a hypocrite. 

All this resulted in “humiliation and loss of liberty” for Crosier, according to the notice of claim he sent to the town this week, which also states that the award for damages will be determined by a trial, but not less than $100,000. 

Palow did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The claim, which lists Kevin A. Luibrand of Luibrand Law Firm and sole-practice attorney Jeff Baker as Crosier’s counsel, says that Crosier’s removal was a violation of New York State Constitution Section 1 Article 8, which grants citizens and the press the right to free speech. 

A notice of claim was not sent to Sheriff Craig Apple, though Crosier, who is running for county coroner on the Democratic slate at the same time Apple is seeking re-election on the same slate, told The Enterprise this week that a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office was still on the table. 

Berne Democratic Committee members declined to carry petitions for Apple after the committee decided that Apple’s silence over Crosiser’s removal from the hearing cast doubt on his priorities.

More Hilltowns News

  • Former Westerlo Planning Board Chairman Beau Loendorf submitted a letter to the Enterprise editor this week bemoaning the town board’s decision to abolish the planning board, among other things. The town supervisor and town attorney both issued responses that defended themselves and turned the blame back on Loendorf and the planning board.

  • In a 3-to-2 vote, the Westerlo Town Board got rid of the town’s planning board — which Supervisor Matt Kryzak has described as “rogue” — despite opposition from residents and the Albany County Planning Board.

  • The former Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville has reorganized itself as Hilltown Commons, with new leadership that aims to ditch the “heady” and “highfalutin’” ideals of the globally-oriented not-for-profit, as the de facto executive Virginia Thomson put it, in favor of a grassroots approach to social betterment. 

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