By Kevin Hogencamp
For nearly three months, the citizens of Albany – via the Albany Police Department – kept U.S. Marine Sgt. James Eppler in a jail cell for a crime that authorities now say he didn’t commit. Eppler was freed Tuesday; police now say his wife Natalie killed herself, as Eppler said all along.
Mistakes happen. Now we as a community need to apologize for what we did and we need to show that we mean it – by writing Eppler a handsome check. It’s called doing the right thing.
It was an honest mistake, you say? Consider this: Deliberately, the citizens of Albany gave Mayor Willie Adams’ campaign manager a $500,000 taxpayer-backed loan that is not being collected. Deliberately, the citizens of Albany gave away more than $300,000 in public funds for a construction project that was never built, and the money is not being collected. Deliberately, citizens of Albany gave $40,000 in hush money to former police chief James Younger, a dreadful performer, just to make him leave his job.
This list goes on. So, why in the world would we pay a man that we have wronged?
We shouldn’t wait for a lawsuit; the check should have been written Tuesday. Meanwhile, I trust that everyone responsible – from the police officers to the mayor – are reaching out to Eppler with sincere apologies.
I, for one, am very sorry.
Kevin Hogencamp is editor and publisher of The Albany Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.