Alden Man Plans Lawsuit Against County for Wrongful Arrest

8:52 AM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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ALDEN, N.Y. - Imagine, you're in your own home and all of sudden you're under arrest for something you didn't do.

That's what Stephen Kocher of Alden says happened to him as police were looking for a suspect in his neighborhood.

In total, Kocher has been dealing with a hip injury for 14 months.

And he says he hasn't been able to return to work as a UPS driver because of an alleged incident with the Erie County Sheriff's Office in his driveway that he says he'll never forget about.

"Just kind of stood there and that's why I didn't react right away because I knew I hadn't done anything and that's when they came at me with the gun pointed at me and got me on the ground," he said.

Kocher says he is now suing over the alleged incident. He says in February, sheriff officers and State Police were outside his home one night around 10 - looking for a man who said he had a shotgun and was going to attack police. 

Kocher was trying to sleep at the time.

"I checked out the front door, saw the car with the light on, so I figured there may be something going on in my front lawn," he said.

Kocher says police were outside because they traced a cell phone call to his neighborhood that the suspect made. He says officers mistakenly thought he was the suspect, ordered him to the ground and put him under arrest - further damaging his injured hip. Kocher says an officer put a knee to his injured hip. 

"I was fine until I saw the dots on my chest. The dots from the gun kinda made me wonder if I was going to be here tomorrow," he said.

Larry Strauss, Kocher's attorney said, "I don't think they [the Sheriff's Office] acted reasonably under the circumstances, Mr. Kocher was innocent there's no dispute, yet they focused on him with no evidence to arrest him."

Kocher tell us he was then released because officers were informed they got the right guy three miles away.

2 On Your Side spoke to neighbors about what happened that night, they wouldn't go on camera, but they told us that they saw and heard the whole incident unfold.

"I hope that this doesn't happen, I hear it happens all the time, we should fix it and I would like to see it fixed," Kocher said.

Kocher says he has nightmares about what happened and that the incident has delayed his recovery for at least a year. 2 On Your Side has called the county Sheriff's Office numerous times for comment, and briefly heard from a spokesperson on Thursday about the claim, one day after our original report.

2 On Your Side has been told that the Sheriff's Office will look into the claim.

Meantime, Kocher's attorney says there will be a hearing in August with the county to discuss the alleged incident.

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