Attorney seeks unbiased probe

State police execute a search warrent of Club Life owner Alex Rosenstrach’s residence in Kinderhook. Lance Wheeler/For Columbia-Greene Media

KINDERHOOK — The investigation into the alleged assault that took place at the home of ClubLife Gym & Fitness Center owner Alex Rosenstrach and his wife, Deputy Sheriff Kelly Rosenstrach, continues as signs in support of the victim disappear from lawns around the area.

Signs calling for justice for the victim of the alleged assault, who has not been named by investigators, have appeared around Kinderhook since the Fourth of July incident.

But on Tuesday the sign maker said some of the signs have been taken down.

A white Dodge Durango and a black GMC Denali were seen stopping to remove the signs, said Misty Brew-Kusewich, who created 50 lawn signs in support of the victim after hearing about the alleged Fourth of July assault.

The signs are intended to encourage people to speak up and bring awareness to the incident, Brew-Kusewich said.

“This is not about [the victim], this is about the community,” she said.

In addition to the 50 lawn signs, Brew-Kusewich has ordered 250 stickers calling for justice for the victim, which she hopes will be less easily removed than lawn signs.

Brew-Kusewich said she was motivated to produce the signs and stickers, which are free of charge, after speaking with her children about the criminal justice system.

“I just want to know what is going on,” she said.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office remains the lead agency investigating the alleged assault, with assistance from the state police Special Investigation Unit, state police Public Information Officer Beau Duffy said Tuesday.

Kelly Rosenstrach was placed on administrative leave July 9 while the sheriff’s office investigates the incident that took place during a gathering at her residence around midnight Fourth of July, which resulted in the victim taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment, police said.

State Attorney General Letitia James’s office is not involved and is not part of the investigation of the incident because they do not have the jurisdiction to do so, a spokesperson with the Attorney General’s office said Tuesday.

The Attorney General’s office would not disclose whether it had received complaints about the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigating an incident that may involve one of its own employees.

New York’s attorney general can serve as a special, independent prosecutor to investigate or prosecute the death of an unarmed civilian following an interaction with police, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 executive order No. 147.

The order was codified into law last month, which takes effect in April 2021, to include any death of a civilian, regardless if he or she was armed.

State law, otherwise, does not specify when the attorney general becomes involved with investigating a crime.

The sheriff’s office can legally investigate incidents that involve their own employees, as criminal investigations and prosecutions are not dictated by state law.

If charges are filed against a law enforcement officer, the local county district attorney prosecutes the case or decides to transfer it to another county because of a conflict of interest.

Reach this reporter at 518-828-1616, ext. 2500.

Editor's Note: This story reflects a change in which comments were attributed to the state Attorney General's Office.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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