Hillary loses lawsuit against village of Potsdam, police

Nick Hillary
Nick Hillary(WWNY)
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 11:55 AM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - The village of Potsdam and its employees have been cleared of all charges in Nick Hillary’s lawsuit claiming his rights were violated when he was arrested in the death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips over a decade ago.

That’s according to village administrator Greg Thompson.

A federal court jury in Albany rendered its verdict Friday morning after beginning deliberations Thursday.

Jurors were charged with deciding whether Hillary was unlawfully imprisoned when police questioned him, if police improperly seized his cell phone, and whether the village could be held accountable for officers’ actions.

Hillary’s lawsuit against the village, two current officers, and a former police chief went to trial Monday. The case has been making its way through the courts for years.

Hillary, who is Black, claims the Potsdam Police Department violated his civil rights as they singled him out as the only suspect immediately following the death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips.

Phillips was found dead in the Market Street apartment he lived in on October 24, 2011.

Hillary, who was Clarkson University’s soccer coach at the time, had been in a romantic relationship with Phillips’ mother. Another ex-boyfriend, a county sheriff’s deputy, was not detained.

Hillary was found not guilty of killing Phillips in 2016 after a trial before a judge in St. Lawrence County Court.

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