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Police Officer Shown in Nude Video is Decommissioned

August 13, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ The state has revoked the officer’s commission of a railroad policeman who was videotaped strolling naked through Grand Central Terminal and taunting a homeless person.

However, it was unclear if the officer, Sgt. Richard DeClara, would keep his job with the Metro-North Commuter Railroad in the wake of Friday’s announcement that his state commission was taken away.

The railroad suspended DeClara and six other officers earlier this month after the existence of the homemade tape was made public.

The tape was made on the night of St. Patrick’s Day 1983, when the landmark railroad terminal was mostly deserted because of a strike. DeClara was the focus of the tape, with the other officers appearing in the background or being heard on the soundtrack.

DeClara was shown harassing a black homeless man with racial taunts, imitating a lisping stereotype of a homosexual and walking nude except for his hat, tie, holster and shoes.

The Railroad Police Benevolent Association said the tape was ″just horseplay among the various participants.″ The union has said it intends to fight any disciplinary action.

State Superintendent of Police Thomas Constantine has said previously that if he revokes an officer’s commission, ″that means they would no longer have police powers and if that happens, then Metro-North probably would not continue them in employment.″

Metro-North President Peter Stangl said in a statement that he was ″delighted″ by Friday’s announcement and was looking forward to ″the commissioner’s expeditious action″ on the cases of the six other suspended officers.

The union contract with Metro-North states that disciplinary action must be brought within 30 days after a commanding officer learns of the alleged wrongdoing.

In this case, at least one commander knew about the tape in 1985, the railroad acknowledged. The railroad, however, plans to begin dismissal hearings on Monday.

DeClara has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. In the past, he has described the video as ″a comedy-type tape ... just strictly for laughs.″

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