Brendan Keany

Erie County Deputy Officially Charged With Four Misdemeanors

Camera footage shows Ken Achtyl roughing up Bills fan in 2017

May 23, 2019 - 9:12 pm

ORCHARD PARK (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Achtyl was arraigned Thursday evening at Orchard Park Town Court and charged with four misdemeanors that stem from a tailgating incident with a fan in December 2017.

The man roughed up by Achtyl, Nicholas Belsito, was arrested and charged with obstructing justice and disorderly conduct after inquiring about a friend who had been arrested during a pre-game tailgate. However, those charges have since been dropped by the Erie County District Attorney's office.

"I'm pleased and, quite frankly, we aren't surprised and believed from the start that the evidence available supports the criminal prosecution," said Attorney Aaron Glazer, who's representing Belsito in the case. 

Listen to more from Glazer below:

Not shockingly, the defense doesn't see the video in the same way as the prosecution, and they believe Achtyl has been wrongfully charged.

"I think it's meaningful that the charges that were laid here were misdemeanors; there were no felonies, they charged misdemeanors," said Achtyl's Attorney Rod Personius. "You have to review more carefully the evidence of the encounter between Deputy Achtyl and this gentleman because he twice refuses to leave when he's told to do so."

Personius then criticized the way this video is being portrayed and lack of context that is provided.

"You've got to review all of the footage," he began. "The coverage of this event in the media, and forgive me for saying this, has been woefully inadequate. You have to review all of the footage; you have to go back to the beginning. You have to go back to when beer cans were being thrown at law enforcement; you have to go back to when this gentleman was interfering with another arrest."

Listen to full audio from Personius below:

When asked if he will get the charges dropped before the next court date on June 27th, Personius said this case will probably need to go to trial.

As the charges are misdemeanors, the max prison sentence that Achtyl could serve if convicted is one year.

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