December 4, 2021

City probing Reddit photo

Cortland County Seal

The Cortland City police are investigating a photo circulating the internet that appears to be of a Cortland police officer in front of a computer with a screensaver that depicts police brutality.

Lt. Michael Strangeway said the photo appears on Reddit and already has more than 200 comments.

The officer, a man with short-cropped hair, is at the desk wearing what appears to be the patch of the Cortland City Police. The officer’s full face cannot be seen.

He is in front of a computer that displays a photo of a person in a chokehold by a police officer from a different department in riot gear, with the caption, “Think about the consequences before messing with the police.”

Based on the telephone and computer equipment in the photo, Strangeway said the photo — if authentic — is at least six years old.

The computer’s desktop displays a Windows XP interface, a platform last updated in 2008.

A portion of the photo has been digitally blocked out. The image had 247 comments by 2:30 p.m. Friday. The comments varied widely.

“We will continue to investigate to determine the authenticity of the photograph and identify the individual responsible for the background seen in the photo, which we view as profoundly unprofessional and utterly unacceptable,” Strangeway said.

Chief F. Michael Catalano said it’s premature to say what would happen to the officer in the photo if the department can determine who it was and if the photo is authentic.