ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca police officer is “no longer employed” by the department after being charged with a DWI in Newfield and allegedly pulling a gun on a person in Florida.

Matthew Lee Pagliaro, 51, was an officer at IPD for nearly 20 years. It’s unclear if he was terminated, resigned or permitted to retire after the alleged incidents.

In a brief written statement by IPD Spokesman Officer Jamie Williamson, he stated, “The City has been made aware of the arrest involving former IPD officer Matt Pagliaro.  Pagliaro is no longer employed by IPD.”

IPD officials declined to further comment on the issue saying, “I’m sorry, that statement is the entirety of our comment.”

According to court records, Pagliaro was accused of pulling a gun on a person at a hotel on Dec. 22 in Stuart, Florida — less than an hour from West Palm Beach on the east coast of the state.

The records state that around 9:45 p.m., police were called to The Clarion Inn where a man named John Veltre said Pagliaro pointed a gun at him.

Another man, Jerimiah Lupton confirmed the account. Lupton told police that he’d been hanging out with Pagliaro for several days because Pagliaro owed him money for a truck. The two had allegedly been drinking together before meeting Veltre that same day and drinking with him as well.

At some point, Pagliaro allegedly gave Veltre a Xanax upon request and invited the man to hang out with them in a hotel room that evening.

The report goes on to state:

While away from the hotel, Lupton watched Veltre snort the pill which was given to him. Lupton told me (the police officer) that he and Veltre were going to Walmart to pick up an alleged prescription which did not work out. Lupton returned and spoke to Pagliaro about the snorting of the pill and the alleged prescription not being picked up to which they both decided to withdraw their invitation to Veltre to stay in their room. Lupton went on to say they set Veltre’s belongings outside…Lupton said he and Pagliaro explained the situation to Veltre and Veltre began to collect his belongings from outside. That was when according to Lupton, that Pagliaro pointed his gun at Veltre. Lupton, fearing that Pagliaro would shoot Veltre, grabbed his arm and tried to deescalate (sic). Lupton said there was no confrontation or tense moment prior to the gun being pulled and that he thought it happened out of nowhere. 

Veltre’s account of the incident mirrored Lupton’s telling, police noted.

Pagliaro told the arresting officer, according to records, that he pointed the gun at Veltre because he “got in his face” and made him feel threatened, which was denied by both Lupton and Veltre.

Pagliaro was taken into custody and taken to the Martin County Jail where $5,000 bail was set. He was charged with felony aggravated assault and alcohol was listed as a factor in the incident.

A Martin County Clerk said the charged against Pagliaro were dismissed Jan. 17, though it’s unclear why.

At least three people — none of whom are permitted to speak on the record about the incident — have independently confirmed that Pagliaro was employed by IPD at the time of the Florida incident.

A few days later, Pagliaro was back in New York, where he was ticketed for driving while intoxicated.

Around 12:30 a.m. Jan. 8 in Newfield, records state that Pagliaro parked his white pickup truck in the middle of Manor Lane. The engine was still running and Pagliaro was asleep at the wheel.

New York State Police reported that there was an open 24 ounce can of Bud Ice in the vehicle and “a cup of a red substance that smelt like liquor.”

He also allegedly admitted to drinking the alcohol and said, “I am not going to pass your test just take me to blow (a blood alcohol concentration test).”

He was charged with misdemeanors for driving while intoxicated, driving with .08 of one percent or more of alcohol and a violation for consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

A Newfield court clerk said Pagliaro is scheduled to possibly accept a plea deal on the charges at 1 p.m. on May 16.

Pagliaro, who was contacted via text and phone call, declined to comment on the incidents.

The Ithaca Voice had requested specifics about Pagliaro’s employment at IPD via the Freedom of Information Act and is awaiting a response. This story will be updated. 

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.