127 Hornbrook Road in Danby in the aftermath of the 61-hour fatal standoff

ITHACA, N.Y. — The federal Department of Justice hasn’t agreed to conduct a formal review of a fatal 61-hour standoff that occurred in the town of Danby last winter.

[do_widget id= text-55 ]

But in conversations with local officials, DOJ officials have expressed interest in learning more about the 13 failed attempts to serve a warrant to David Cady, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot after he fired on law enforcement, in the months before the altercation.

That’s according to Deputy Tompkins County Administrator Paula E. F. Younger, who briefed lawmakers Tuesday night about the county’s ongoing efforts to have the DOJ review the standoff.

See related: Homeowners in Danby standoff sue sheriff’s office, county

The federal officials suggested they would be interested in learning both about the process over serving warrants and the “work-around services” — such as substance abuse treatment — that precipitated the fatal standoff, according to Younger. Cady had been wanted in connection with a DWI warrant.

“As to what degree (the DOJ is) going to be able to look at that, I don’t know — it hasn’t been discussed,” Younger said, “but they did indicate that was important data to have and important areas to look into if they come on board to the review.”

127 Hornbrook Road in Danby in the aftermath of the 61-hour fatal standoff

Updates on DOJ inquiry of fatal standoff

Younger provided a few other updates to the lawmakers on Tuesday’s Tompkins County Legislature meeting about the fatal standoff.

Among them:

1 — Decision coming next week | Several months after first approaching the DOJ, Tompkins County officials will finally learn whether the federal agency will review the actions taken during the Danby standoff next week.

“It’s my understanding that they’ll be contacting us later on next week with a final decision,” Younger said.

2 — Review could take 8-10 months | The federal review, if granted, could take anywhere from 8 to 10 months to complete from the date it begins, according to Younger. (The standoff began on Dec. 30, 2014.)

“This is a process for them,” Younger said. “…And once the request is officially approved it would be a month before they would be on site.”

Younger was recently on a conference call with federal officials, the sheriff and the undersheriff about the request; federal officials have also been speaking with Danby Town Supervisor Ric Dietrich and Ithaca Police Chief John Barber, according to Younger.

3 — Praise for ‘after-action report’ | While the DOJ may be interested in conducting a review, federal officials have also said they were impressed by the “after-action report” prepared by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office about that fatal incident, according to Younger.

“They gave kudos for preparing that report; it’s not necessarily standing operating procedure,” Younger said. “…DOJ found the report to be quite helpful and informative.”

Click on the Ithaca Voice Story Database to learn more. Stories on this topic are filed under “Fatal standoff in Danby.”
Click on the Ithaca Voice Story Database to learn more. Stories on this topic are filed under “Fatal standoff in Danby.”

4 —The purpose of the review | Younger reminded the Tompkins County Legislator that officials are hoping the DOJ will “look at the activities that evening and make recommendations —whether that means things we need to do differently or improve or whether we are in line with standards and best practices.”

“I would assume that would be a capacity building document moving forward for future training and updating protocols they’d be able to tell us,” she said.

[do_widget id= text-61 ]

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.