Alleged Southampton PD abuse breeds lawsuits, fear

The Town of Southampton is facing millions of dollars in lawsuits surrounding claims of abuse by the town’s police department.

The Town of Southampton is facing millions of

The Town of Southampton is facing millions of dollars in lawsuits revolving around its police department. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

SOUTHAMPTON - The Town of Southampton is facing millions of dollars in lawsuits surrounding claims of abuse by the town’s police department.

Members of the Southampton Police Department have been accused of drug use, shakedowns and harassment. Seven convictions have been vacated following a probe by the Suffolk DA into more than 100 cases handled by the department’s now disbanded street crimes unit. Two members of the department, Lt. James Kiernan and officer Eric Sickles, have been reinstated following suspensions over Sickles’ remaining on the job despite a known addiction to prescription pills.

Frank Vlahadamis, the owner of the Hampton Bays Diner, is among the plaintiffs involved in lawsuits against the town. Vlahadamis claims members of the department, including Kiernan, all but tried to run him out of town after he started hosting a "Hispanic night." A lawsuit against Kiernan resulted in a hung jury and was dismissed. His lawsuit against the town is still pending, but he says he now wants to sell the diner after owning it for 30 years.

“He’s back on the force like nothing happened,” says Vlahadamis. “I’m afraid this guy is going to come after me again.”

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, a registered Independent, sought an outside company to review the department's procedures and policies. She could not get the necessary support of the full town board, however.

Among the Town of Southampton’s five-member board are two Republicans and one Conservative. Campaign records obtained by Newsday show Kiernan is a large donor and a Republican Party committee member.

Through their attorneys, both Kiernan and Sickles declined requests for on-camera interviews.
 

More on this topic

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Public hearings on the LIRR Third Track Project 1 LIRR 3rd Track Project public hearings begin
The Girl Scouts of Nassau County visited the 2 Tasty Tuesday: Girl Scout cookies - 8 varieties
The Girl Scouts of Nassau County visited the 3 Tasty Tuesday: Girl Scout cookies - S'mores
Investigators spent several hours investigating at the scene, 4 26-year-old hospitalized in N. Amityville shooting
News 12's Lily Stolzberg asked shoppers at Iavvarone 5 On the Spot: Famous quotes

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

The Southampton Town Police Department is facing millions Lawsuits allege Southampton PD abuse

The Southampton Town Police Department is facing millions of dollars in lawsuits for alleged abuses.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE