NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — Police Officer Robert Sisco has been fired after violating a “last-chance” agreement to be reinstated from the suspension that resulted from a disparaging rap video he posted online last year.
The violations also involved social media posts, according to town officials.
Sisco was dismissed during a New Paltz Town Board meeting Thursday, just one day after town Supervisor Neil Bettez told the Freeman the officer was on the verge of being allowed to return to work after the unpaid suspension.
On Thursday, though, Bettez said Sisco violated the portion of the agreement that “pretty much excluded him from posting anything on social media that in any way reflected poorly on the [police] department or if it violated department policy … [or] make the department look bad.”
In recent social media posts, according to Bettez and board members, Sisco appeared to smoke marijuana, called the police department corrupt, and seemed to threaten some form of retribution for perceived wrongs against him.
“He made some threatening comment … about making people pay, or something like that,” Bettez said of Sisco, who owns a Highland gun store called the Black Mamba Rifle Co.
The Town Board fired Sisco in its role as the town Police Commission. The action is subject to binding arbitration if Sisco appeals, and the board still must give the dismissal final approval.
New Paltz Police Chief Robert Lucchesi said he “will work with the town labor attorney to prepare the notice of discipline to be served upon officer Sisco and/or his attorney indicating violations of the settlement agreement that [was] signed back in October.”
Sisco first was suspended, with pay, in June 2020, shortly after he posted the rap video on Instagram. Then, after presenting a recorded apology via Zoom to the Police Commission on Nov. 11, the suspension was continued without pay and was to end in the coming weeks.
The video, which Sisco recorded while in uniform and apparently in a New Paltz Police Department vehicle, disparaged transgender people, called for Hillary Clinton to be hanged and blamed the Chinese for the spread of the coronavirus.
In one portion, Sisco rapped: “Spit facts over feelings, because your feelings are irrelevant. There’s only two genders, and Trump’s still your president. Boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina. This whole coronavirus was sent here from China. Hillary is Killary, we all know the reason. Where those emails at? We should hang her for treason.”
Bettez told the Freeman on Wednesday that the apology Sisco provided was “wonderful” and that he was “impressed” by it.
In the apology, Sisco, addressing members of the LGBTQ community, said: “I want you to give me an opportunity to learn and to hear your voices and opinions. … I know that I will be a better police officer because of this.”
Sisco, who is Black, said that “as a marginalized person in this country, even though this doesn’t give me an excuse at all, I should be more sensitive to people who are also going through a struggle. Professionally, I was ignorant. … I was ashamed when I found out about the horrors that transgender people had suffered.”
Sisco has been with the New Paltz Police Department for about nine years. His most recent annual salary was $77,412.