Update 7:15 p.m. —
The City of Ithaca has unanimously approved a retirement package for Ithaca police Officer Anthony Augustine, who was shot in the line of duty in 2012.
Augustine and Chief John Barber appeared at City Hall Wednesday night to ask the city’s Common Council to sign off on the plan, which was previously agreed to by the officer and Mayor Svante Myrick. (You can read more about the package below or here.)
Several Ithaca Council members took turns thanking Augustine for his service. (Augustine was shot while chasing a suspect on West Hill; Jamel Booker was later sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting Augustine.)
“I want to thank you for your service to the youth of this community since 2012,” said Common Council member George McGonigal, noting that Augustine had volunteered at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center since recovering. “You’re a good man, and I’m glad you’re a part of this community.”
Chief Barber added that Augustine was a “man of integrity with the highest work ethic. He epitomizes everything we look for in a police officer serving the city.”
Barber spoke of knowing Augustine since they were in Catholic school together several decades ago; he said that he recognized the package “won’t make Tony whole,” but would help him move on with his life. The roomful of about 30 people then applauded for Augustine.
After the unanimous vote, Augustine was hugged by several of his fellow officers in attendance. Some patted him on the back, and others met Augustine with wide smiles.
“As much as the chief might think he’s getting rid of me, he’s not,” said Augustine, drawing laughs and noting that he’ll continue to wear Ithaca police paraphernalia and have a role in the community.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Tonight, the Ithaca Common Council is set to discuss a retirement package for former Officer Anthony Augustine, who was shot while pursuing a suspect in the city in 2012.
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About 20 Ithaca police officers, many in uniform, have filled City Hall in a sign of support for Augustine. The officers at City Hall tonight include Chief John Barber, Officer David Amaro and Officer Dana Haff.
As previously reported by the Ithaca Voice, Mayor Svante Myrick has asked the Common Council to provide Augustine with a unique retirement package that would give him years of healthcare and pension benefits.
Still, Augustine says he wants what he has been asking for since shortly after he was shot pursuing a suspect in West Hill in October 2012: to rejoin the force.
“This was a 2-and-a-half year argument,” Augustine said in July. “… I told them: If the city can’t let me return to work, at least I need my health care.”
A committee of Ithaca’s Common Council approved Myrick’s proposal in July. That proposal is again set to be taken up tonight.
We’ll post an update after the Council makes a decision.
Some more details about the package from our previous reporting: The city is offering a package that would give Augustine health care benefits for 20 years — which should last well until he is eligible for Medicare — in addition to a state pension that would guarantee Augustine in the range of $42,000 a year for life, according to city officials.
Officials stressed that 20 years of guaranteed healthcare — which could constitute a payout of more than $1 million from city coffers — represented an extraordinary, unique offer. City Attorney Ari Lavine called the agreement “truly extraordinary” and said that it treats Augustine “in extraordinary circumstances.”
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