Potsdam police officer fired after allegedly choking man in custody

Matthew Seymour
Matthew Seymour(St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 1:20 PM EDT
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - A Potsdam village police officer has been fired after allegedly choking a man in custody at the police station.

The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office charged 45-year-old Matthew Seymour of Potsdam with a misdemeanor count of criminal obstruction of breathing.

The charge stems from an incident that took place at the Potsdam Police Department on April 1.

The sheriff’s office received a referral from the Potsdam Village Police Department through the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office in regard to an incident involving an on-duty patrolman.

The sheriff’s office investigated and “developed probable cause to believe that Matt A. Seymour applied pressure to the throat of a male individual which impeded his breathing.”

The individual was in custody at the Potsdam Police Department at the time.

According to the Potsdam Police Department, the village terminated Seymour’s employment on April 25.

He had been with the department since December 20, 2004.

Seymour was issued a ticket to appear in Potsdam Town Court at a later date.

An order of protection was issued for the alleged victim.

In a Facebook post, the police department said, “As a department, we are surprised and disappointed by the events that unfolded; however, the swift and thorough investigation and discipline that followed should stand to demonstrate our commitment to professional standards and accountability at all levels.”

Officer Seymour was in the news in September 2015 when he shot and killed a suspect who was repeatedly stabbing a woman at the Swan Landing Apartments in the village.

According to our archives, we reported Seymour ordered 31-year-old Tian Ma to drop the knife several times. Witnesses said Ma refused and swung the knife at the officer.

Seymour fired four shots into Ma, killing him.

The district attorney at the time said the shooting appeared to be justified.