Mark Murray dropped from Hillary lawsuit

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 8:05 AM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - Potsdam’s police chief has been dropped from a lawsuit brought by the man acquitted of murdering 12-year-old Garrett Phillips in Potsdam almost 10 years ago.

A U.S. District Court judge dropped Mark Murray from Oral “Nick” Hillary’s lawsuit. The suit claims that Hillary was singled out as a suspect in Phillips’ October 2011 death because he’s Black.

Hillary was acquitted of murder in a 2016 bench trial. He filed a discrimination lawsuit against Murray and several others.

In his suit, Hillary alleged that Murray, who was a lieutenant at the time, investigated him because of his race, but did not consider as a suspect another man, sheriff’s Deputy John Jones, who is white.

Both Hillary and Jones had been in romantic relationships with Garrett Phillips’ mother, Tandy Collins.

Judge Gary Sharpe ruled that Hillary did not provide evidence that Murray’s treatment of him was because of race.

“Racism in the air, or a lack of diversity in the Village of Potsdam or its police department — which is the sum total of Hillary’s attempt to show a triable issue of fact — is insufficient,” the judge wrote.

The judge dismissed all claims against Murray.

“For the 2017 case Mr. Hillary and his attorney made a long list of allegations including allegations of racism and equal protection violations, all of which were disposed of and discovery exposed the fact that there was absolutely no evidence to support those claims and those allegations,” said Gregg Johnson, Murray’s attorney.

The judge’s ruling can be seen below this story.

A 2012 lawsuit is still in play. In that one, Hillary’s lawyers claim there was not probable cause to detain Hillary in 2011.

Murray, the village, a former chief and others are still defendants in that case. We could not reach Hillary’s lawyers for comment.

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