The Seneca County Board of Supervisors was overwhelmingly quiet when Charles Bowman of Fayette stood behind the podium during their last meeting of the calendar year on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
A recent joint letter authored by Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce, District Attorney Mark Sinkiewicz and Seneca Falls Chief of Police Stuart Peenstra remained at the center of conflict, causing a short, tense scene at the county meeting.
“I don’t believe it’s right that they sign, willingly published a letter that they knew was a lie,” Bowman bellowed. “They’ve all seen the evidence before they printed that letter, and they still sent it out.”
The Cayuga Nation is now touting the letter as new evidence, nearly two years after the February 2020 incidents, while being presented before the U.S. Department of Interior after Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. He recently reopened the Nation’s denied land-into-trust application.
Yet no mention of the latest decision by the federal government was made public by any of the supervisors.
“So, this should come down to a phone call because now the highest legal officials in our county are lying. I have no fear in saying that,” Bowman added. “They have no fear publishing lies about me; I have no fear speaking the truth about them.”
Those who expected to watch a public forum that’s typically packed with hot-blooded debates about the neighboring Cayuga Nation were surprised, only to see the supervisors silently sit as Bowman espoused his beliefs for the allotted few minutes.
Seneca Falls Town Supervisor, Mike Ferrara, was the sole voice to comment after Bowman stopped speaking. He vehemently opposed the accusations levied against Luce, Peenstra and Sinkiewicz.
“Not to continue this any further, but again, I one-hundred-percent stand behind the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and Seneca Falls Police Department and their investigative work, and the District Attorney, one-hundred-percent,” Ferrara responded. “… And I resent the fact that you publicly come to a meeting and call them liars.”
The major point of contention in the letter expresses that Bowman “was taken and dropped off by Nation police to a perimeter ambulance where he “signed off,” which means he refused any treatment or transport to the hospital by Emergency Medical Services.”
As FingerLakes1.com previously reported on multiple occasions, Bowman was searched by Cayuga Nation Police officers while being held in their custody until later releasing him into the care of North Seneca Ambulance, transporting him to the Geneva General Hospital.
A day after his release from the hospital, Bowman exclusively spoke with FingerLakes1.com, recounting the same chain of events outlined in his civil deposition and a statement he issued to the Seneca Falls Police Department in an incident report before speaking with the press that same day.
In a recorded conversation with Sinkiewicz inside his office last September, Bowman explained to the district attorney that he had received initial treatment from an ambulance and eventually the hospital — not handed over to local law enforcement for any processing.
Backed with documentation, Bowman paid his ambulance ride and hospital bills in the days that followed after the Feb. 29 incident.
Even the victim’s advocate who sat in Sinkiewicz’s room as a witness to their conversation later told Bowman that her office would cover his medical fees if he became a victim after — not a defendant — after the grand jury — but that didn’t happen either.
Editor’s Note: The Seneca Falls Police Department released the following media statement on Friday, Dec. 17, a few days after Tuesday’s Seneca County Board of Supervisors meeting.
“Our letter indicated that Charles Bowman was not transported. The report of the Officer assigned to the ambulance indicated that Mr. Bowman was not transported. After further examination, evidence indicates that Mr. Bowman was transported by North Seneca Ambulance after that Officer cleared that post. We regret and apologize for this error.”
In response to the department’s apology, Bowman offered the following statement to FingerLakes1.com:
“This is a positive step forward in a case that has been mostly backward. It shows clear evidence a proper investigation was never done, that I’m not making things up I have facts backed by proof. My name has been bashed enough by Clint Halftown and the DA. I applaud the SFPD in the correction of the false statements. Now I plea to the chief of police to call the Attorney General himself and ask for a special investigation to be done. We all can see how this was miss handled by our county DA.”
It is unclear whether the county’s joint letter will be redrafted to reflect the necessary corrections made by the Seneca Falls Police Department from earlier today.