WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – The former Watkins Glen Police Sergeant in Charge originally accused of multiple perjury charges has pled guilty to a misconduct charge for sleeping on the job, according to his lawyer. The perjury charges have been dismissed.
Brandon Matthews, the former WG Sgt. in Charge, pled guilty to one count of Official Misconduct (a class-A misdemeanor) on May 20, according to his attorney Matthew Buzzetti. In the announcement, Buzzetti claims the eight perjury charges were all dismissed for lack of evidence.
However, in a statement, the Yates County District Attorney, Todd Casella, disputes that claim, saying Buzzetti’s statements are false and the perjury charges were dismissed as covered.
According to Casella, “the Judge never had the opportunity to review the evidence or testimony before the grand jury as Matthews plead guilty before that could happen.”
Buzzetti said Matthews’ misconduct charge stemmed from him sleeping on the job when he worked overnight shifts in the Watkins Glen Police Department from October 2010 to April 2018.
“It is something that while not appropriate, is commonplace among police officers working overnight shifts.” Mr. Matthews stated.
Casella also disputes this claim, saying it is “absolutely not” common for police officers to sleep on the job.
“This type of conduct [sleeping on the job] is only found occurring in a very small minority of officers who are incompetent, lazy, and nefarious. Police officers like Brandon Matthews,” said Casella.
The judge “saw fit to sentence Mr. Matthews to only the state-mandated surcharges,” Buzzetti said, though the charge has a maximum potential sentence of one year in county jail.
Buzzetti said that the perjury charges, from a December 2021 indictment, were dismissed after neither he nor the court could find evidence that Matthews had lied. Buzzetti further indicated that the New York State Police perjured themselves during the investigation and subsequent interviews. “For some reason, they did not face the same charges as my client,” Buzzetti said.
Casella says these comments by Buzzetti are baseless and, “to say as much is slanderous and to cause the same to be published is libel.”
The charges stemmed from a testimony in which Matthews allegedly perjured himself concerning a New York State Police investigation of marijuana on his property in 2020. He was placed on administrative leave in August 2020 and removed as Sergeant in Charge with the WGPD in October 2020.