“I’m innocent of this and am going to continue to fight these charges,” the adamant former commanding officer of the 49th Precinct Keith Walton said outside of a Bronx courtroom on Tuesday, August 21, the day the trial was expected to start before it was rescheduled again.
It’s been over 21 months since Keith Walton was relieved of his duties after his alleged sexual misconduct towards a female officer.
Walton was eventually offered a plea deal that would leave him without a criminal record if he would leave the New York Police Department, according to Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett.
However, Walton declined because he refuses to give up his shield or presumed innocence.
“I can not stand before a judge and admit to something I did not do,” Walton said as he cited that a bulk of what the original felony charges had been dropped during the nearly two-year ordeal. “We are going to fight this case to the very end,” he added.
Walton also recalled nights that he literally ‘lived’ in the 49th Precinct, personally answering phones in the middle of the night out of dedication to the community he had served.
“This has been a grueling process, but I want to put it behind me and return to the police, continuing to pursue my dream of becoming the first African American Commissioner from Harlem,” he said. “In my time of hiatus I’ve been able to see a lot of the city. There’s a lot I liked and there’s a lot that could be improved on and all I want to do is get back to working on that,” Walton added.
He also explained that this trial has been a financial burden, mentioning that he has 250 hours of overtime still sitting on his desk.
On Monday, July 30, Barrett reiterated to Walton and his attorney that agreeing to the plea deal would leave the accused with a clean record.
“We’re going to trial because he’s not guilty on these charges,” said Walton’s lawyer Xavier Donaldson whom replaced attorney Louis La Pietra at the stand. “Judge Barrett said what he thought he needed to say, that’s his opinion. That [statement] has absolutely and positively unequivocally no effect on my comfort level or confidence about how this case is going to turn out,” he added.
According to dated court documents, on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at the 2121 Eastchester Road stationhouse, Walton allegedly instructed the defendant, a female officer assigned to the stationhouse, to come into his office and then forcefully pulled her hair and attempted to kiss her on the mouth.
Walton then placed his hand on the alleged victim’s genital area over her clothing, according to the complaint.
When the police officer attempted to leave Walton’s office, he allegedly asked her, ‘Where the hell are you going?’ Walton then again put his hand on her genital area over her clothing and then placed the woman’s hand on his erect penis over his clothing twice, according to the criminal complaint.
The victim also claimed she tried to push Walton’s hands off her body and verbally told him to stop touching her.
Walton was then recorded days later by the victim trying to downplay the alleged incident, saying he didn’t remember any resistance by the victim and then asked her for a hug.
The allegations were reported just weeks after he was promoted to commanding officer.
Some of Walton’s allies, retired police officers and astrong contingent of local residents, made their presence known inside and outside of the Bronx Hall of Justice during his court sessions, holding up signs indicating their support, while speaking on behalf of his character.
Some protesters claimed that the generous plea deal the DA office offered was an admission that they ‘got it wrong’.
The trial’s lack of speediness was also criticized.
As far as that lack of speediness goes, the trial, which was anticipated to begin on Monday, August 20 is now set to start on Monday, September 24.
“I’m not interested in a sprint finish to this, we will fight this however long it takes,” Walton said.