Parents of late Clifton Park man still seeking justice
This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the death of Patrick Casey, a 33-year-old Clifton Park native who was killed during an early morning fight outside a Washington D.C. McDonald's. While no arrests have been made or any charges brought, YNN's Matt Hunter reports that Casey's family is still pressuring Washington, D.C. officials to bring them justice.
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CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- "The phone rang at 6:30 Friday morning and it was the police from [Washington] D.C. wondering if we were the parents of Pat,” Gail Casey said. “We said ‘yes’ and they told us he was in the hospital after a fall."
"We had spent a year while he was in Afghanistan dreading getting a phone call like that,” Paul Casey said. “We never thought we'd get a call from Washington, D.C."
One year after their son's sudden and tragic death, the Clifton Park home of Paul and Gail Casey offers constant reminders of all that's missing in their life.
Just 33 at the time, Patrick Casey was pursuing a master’s degree at George Washington University when in the early morning hours of September 23, the Shenendehowa and RPI graduate entered a McDonald's on M Street.
"They wouldn't give us any details on the phone but the doctor said he'd pray for us, which is not something you want to hear from the head of emergency," Gail said.
According to Washington, D.C. Metro Police, Casey and two friends were at the McDonald's when they got in an argument with three men in their late twenties.
Heated words reportedly escalated to a fight outside where Casey was punched, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement. After four days in a coma he would succumb to his injuries.
While initial reports said he stepped in to protect his friends, police later determined it was Casey, an Army veteran, who was the aggressor.
"The initial push came from either, we believe it was Mr. Casey. It may have been someone with him," D.C. Police Captain Michael Farish told reporters in a press conference last September.
"We had no reason not to believe it, we were kind of shocked," Gail Casey said.
As upsetting as the news was, the Caseys took police at their word. After all, officers claimed to have surveillance video that implicated their son and showed him acting drunk and aggressively toward others.
"You start to say 'if there's video, that's sort of irrefutable," Paul Casey said.
It wasn't until several months later in November when they first viewed that video that the Caseys began asking questions. In their eyes, the more than 20 minute video proves the exact opposite.
"It doesn't show him [Pat] doing anything wrong,” Paul Casey said. “It's not innocuous toward the other three."
"They're just rambunctious, rowdy, out of control, the kind of people you don't want to be around at all,” Gail Casey said. “If anybody was looking for trouble that night, it was these three."
Because there's no audio and the video does not capture the fight itself, it's impossible to draw a conclusion from the footage alone but the Caseys are certain it proves their son's innocence. They've called on Metro Police to reopen the investigation and bring charges against the three men.
"We want them to be re-interviewed and hopefully the truth will come out," Gail Casey said.
In a statement issued Friday, a D.C. Police Department spokesperson said, "The target of this investigation was identified. All identified witnesses and evidence including the videos were presented to the U-S Attorney's Office, and the USAO determined that the facts in the case did not support charging the target with a criminal offense."
While that seemingly shuts the book on their case, the Caseys say they won't stop pursuing justice.
"The investigation was mismanaged and incompetent and he deserved better," Paul Casey said.