As noted in the first post in this series, former Hudson Alderman Quintin Cross has provided this site with access to a large trove of documents his defense collected during the time that authorities tried (but ultimately failed) to prosecute him and a friend, Jamont McClendon, for the much-discussed burglary at City Hall.
Coincidentally, just hours after the first installment was published, the City of Hudson announced that Hudson Police chief Ellis Richardson was retiring.
Below are excerpts of a second key video from that dossier. This site has made a partial transcript of the HPD’s interrogation of McClendon on the night he was arrested in a house on State Street—roughly two weeks after the burglary and after warrants went out for the pair’s arrest.
This wide-ranging conversation covers an extremely diverse set of topics, from the definition of racism, to why he and Cross like to go to the Red Dot, to what McClendon was doing on the night of the burglary, to questions about political influence, to whether “hippies in Harlemville” could be harboring Cross.
The interview runs nearly four times longer than Cross’s, and is far more emotional and far-ranging. Detective John Funk and McClendon have an obvious rapport, and the conversation reveals a great deal about both life on Hudson’s streets and the folks who police it—humanizing both the suspect and the detective. Their dialogue is by turns argumentative, compassionate, lighthearted, tragic or just profane.
McClendon is handcuffed throughout, and complains to Funk of his treatment during his arrest. Later, he was assigned a public defender, John Leonardson, whose role in the case has been very low-profile. But other documents indicate that Leonardson’s thorough research and forceful briefs were instrumental in the outcome. Leonardson argued that this interview should have been disclosed to the defense earlier; that it both contained “Brady” material which would aid the defense, but also was not admissible as evidence against his client; and that McClendon arguably should not have been quizzed without an attorney present.
Detective Funk repeatedly alludes to a legal constraint that he is under, that the interview is supposed to be limited to information regarding the whereabouts of Cross—who at that point was still missing—and not the sealed indictment against McClendon which would be opened in court the next day. (As one legal expert noted to me this week, the pair were not technically fugitives from justice during their disappearance, because they had yet to be arraigned before a judge.)
Funk first reads McClendon his Miranda rights, which McClendon acknowledges, tells him he has a warrant for his arrest and an indictment from Columbia County court, and gives him a bottle of Pepsi. (Later, he offers to let him smoke out the window of the police station office.)
McClendon says that he has been in Hudson, not Albany. Funk says he is not going to ask about the case; but McClendon says he wants to know about the case. He says he doesn’t know what he’s been charged with, and Funk asks why he didn‘t come into talk sooner... From there it’s off to the races:
JM: I didn’t partake in anything. Really. I didn’t do nothin’. I just got out of jail... When I called here, you just had me on hold—I don’t know, two, three minutes. I just kept hanging up. What the fuck. If they wanted to talk, we could talk.
FUNK: I’ve been trying to find you since the 19th of March... You didn’t try that hard to come see me. I’ve known you, and I’ve always been straight with you.
FUNK: I’m not bullshitting you, I’ve got nothing to gain by lying to you. So since the 19th, when this investigation started, I’ve talked to one person, and I haven’t had a chance to speak with you. And unfortunately for you, you got drawn into it, after I spoke to one person—
McCLENDON: I got drawn into it? How the hell did I get drawn into it?
FUNK: I can’t really discuss the case with you, I can’t ask you specific quesitons. So I’m asking you, what you’ve heard since the 19th, when you heard that the cops are looking for you with a warrant. What did they say?
McCLENDON: I thought it was for, cause I got bailed out of jail, I thought it was for a ticket I had to pay, at first. No, they say, they want you for something serious. [Heard it from a] couple of girls on the street... And then, I saw my face in the paper, and I say, what the fuck? And I read it, and say, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ Then I spoke with Quintin, and he said, ‘Ain’t got nothin’ to worry about—they let me go.’ I was like, what the hell they even speaking to us for, what’d we do?
FUNK: What did he tell you? Plus, what did you read in the newspaper?
McCLENDON: He told me we were wanted for questioning... Not a big deal.
FUNK: Why wouldn’t you want to come here and clear your name?
McCLENDON: Because I’m scared to death. I got a long history.
FUNK: I know your history. You got nothing to be scared of.
McCLENDON: I got a lot to be scared of.
FUNK: Not if you—if you come in here, you ask for me, you could have asked for me specifically.
McCLENDON: Swear to God, you know how many times I came in here and asked for you?
FUNK: No, I don’t.
McCLENDON: Very many times, you and Delaney. They told me hold on... You know what they did? I’d just end up going to jail, because I just get feisty with them, or I have to get bailed out for somethin’ else.
FUNK: Or you take off running. Did you take off tonight?
McCLENDON: No, they just started off slammin’ me.
FUNK: Oh, jesus. Well.
McCLENDON: They just came in and started slammin’ me around.
FUNK: You alright?
McCLENDON: Yeah, I’m alright.
FUNK: Pissed off?
McCLENDON: Yeah. Yeah, I’m pissed off.
FUNK: You’re in a kind of a little bit of a pickle. What laywer you have representing ’ya? Public defender?
McCLENDON: I don’t have nothin’. I don’t even have a family. I just have me, really.
FUNK: Let me ask this. You know where Quintin is?
McCLENDON: Didn’t Quintin—wasn’t Quintin going to get a job in China?
FUNK: He was gone.
McCLENDON: I’m pretty sure he went.
FUNK: No, he didn't.
McCLENDON: I’m pretty sure he went.
FUNK: Really? When did he leave?
McCLENDON: I saw when he got on the bus... I don’t know, a day or two after see— not seeing you, a day or two after he came and tell you. Or did he come and see you? I don’t know who he saw.
FUNK: He saw me. I got stuck with this case. I got the short end on this one. For a while.
McCLENDON: And he got on the bus to go to Albany, said he got to go catch his plane. That was it.
FUNK: That’s the last you saw him and talk with him.
McCLENDON: And we went to go eat. I forgot where we went to eat, I dunno, Baba Louie’s or some shit like that. Somewhere on Warren Street.
FUNK: Hmm... After this all happened. I heard the big joke is that you can, you can literally walk into Hudson P.D. like that because we just let people go.
FUNK: Someone is putting that on Facebook. Unless you got a neon sign blinkin’ off and on, Hudson P.D. isn’t going to arrest you.
McCLENDON: I don’t know.
FUNK: You never hear that?
McCLENDON: Nah, I just know, I didn’t do shit. I just know that for a fact... I just... All this indictment shit, what happened at the prelim and the hearing? Where’s the evidence at? There can’t, there can’t be no evidence.
McCLENDON: Because I didn’t do shit.
FUNK: Jamont. Let me ask you this... YOu made mre forget what I was going to say. Oh, I know what I was going to say. What I understand is, when they took you into custody, did you ask to speak to the Chief?
FUNK: Now the Chief has given me the—the Chief trusts me enough to have me come in when I’m done working, to maybe speak to you. So I want you to think, I want you to think to yourself, that if you were going to speak to the Chief, I’m actually working on his behalf. And the Chief trusts me enough to speak to you about what you wanted to speak to him about.
McCLENDON: I was going to ask him the same questions. Like what’s going on, like why am I even in it?
FUNK: Why? What did Quintin tell ya?
McCLENDON: Quintin didn’t tell me shit.
FUNK: He sat right here [points] on his cell phone when I was talkin’to him.
McCLENDON: [Incredulous] What, Quintin did?
McCLENDON: And he told me somethin’?
FUNK: That’s what he said... He was on his cell phone the whole time.
McCLENDON: Talkin’ to me? I don’t think so.
FUNK: No? Then he was not being truthful to me... Alright.
McCLENDON: Cause know why?
McCLENDON: I don’t even have a cell phone.
FUNK: Let me ask you this. We’re talking man-to-man here. If you don’t do something—
McCLENDON: He definitely... I’m pretty sure he got on that plane. I’m pretty sure.
FUNK: Well, then he must have got under on some other name, because I’m pretty sure we had all our bases covered, unless someone gave me bad info... Have you heard from him since he’s been in China?
McCLENDON: I spoke to him... when we’s on Facebook. But after that, just, he says he’s shutting his Facebook off.
FUNK: He turned it back on. I saw it on Friday.
McCLENDON: I don’t know... He’s not one of my friends. He probably got a different name.
McCLENDON: Me and Quintin, that’s one of my best friends, but we don’t really associate how we used to back in the day. ’Cause... We’re into two different type of things. You know? He’s not into what I’m into, like—
FUNK: What are you into and what’s he into?
McCLENDON: Basically, I’m broke, living house to house. He got a job and shit and he’s taking care of a home. He wants to go out and party and whatever, and I can’t do that, ’cause I don’t have it. You know? So I always go my other way; but if I ditch him, he'll be mad at me for like two, three weeks. You know?
FUNK: So, why, why does he hang out with you? Are you guys cousins? Or are you just friends?
McCLENDON: Naw, we just friends.
FUNK: Um, and he’s got, he goes to school, he’s got a job...
McCLENDON: Yeah, he got everything going for him.
FUNK: Yup. And what have you got going for you?
McCLENDON: I only have a kid to worry about. I was living good. I was living good, I just didn’t have no money. You know? I had enough to go pay for food and shit like that, I ain’t had enough to go and smoke some blunts and shit like that... I don’t smoke weed anyway, but—
FUNK: You like to tip ‘em back though, I know you like to drink.
McCLENDON: Yeah, I like to drink.
FUNK: You’ve been drinkin’ for along time.
McCLENDON: I go to Wunderbar...
FUNK: Who you go there with, Jamont, let me ask you?
McCLENDON: Um, a lot by myself. I know a lot of people, but I’m pretty much a loner.
FUNK: So you and Quintin, you’ve been friends, but you don’t really associate like you used to?
McCLENDON: Yeah, like we went out for his birthday, because his birthday was March 11th, and we pretty much hung that whole week... He said he going to fucking China to study and be a teacher. He said you going to hang with me for a couple of days, I’m like yeah, don’t ditch me. He’s like ‘Yo, if you need a place to stay, you can stay here...’ Because I just got out of jail, you can stay here. Mess with your old lady around the corner—he say you better stop messin’ with her, she’s too old. I don’t care.
FUNK: Older woman, that’s OK, that’s good for you... They’ve got that nurturing side, they want to be all nurture—take care of ’ya.
FUNK: Now, when I had a chance to speak with him, he said you’re, you guys are around each other all the time.
McCLENDON: Yeah, but not lately, cause I’ve been in jail. Shit.
FUNK: Now he, you know, we both know Quintin, he’s a pretty popular guy—
McCLENDON: I see.. We see each other every day, every day, well almost every day, but we don’t... like, wehn he’s going to hang somewhere, like right now, I’m probably not going with him, I’m probably sitting with them for a few munites until they line up to go somewhere, ’cause where they go, or what they’re going to do costs money. If I’ve only got 50 bucks in my pocket, I’m not spending my last 50 bucks, because I know I got to provide for the next day... You know?
FUNK: If he was going to go hang somehwere right now, where would he go?
McCLENDON: Probably go to Wunderbar, or go... Or he likes to go other places, like Red Dot, American Glory...
FUNK: OK. Why’s he like to go to those bars?
McCLENDON: We got our hippie friends.
FUNK: Why’s he like to hang out there?
McCLENDON: Because they’re classy, they’re casual.
FUNK: There’s some money there.
McCLENDON: Some money there?
FUNK: They take care of, well, people, You know, classy—you’re going to drink good stuff, people are going to be buying you nice... So, he’s got, he’s got a network of friends that’s got money. He’s got a network of friends that got power. He knows people in the right places.
McCLENDON: Yeah, I don’t know about that.
FUNK: What do you mean you don’t know about that? ... He was a public servant. He got elected into office. And he held a position in city hall, so that tells me—
McCLENDON: So you think they’re hiding him?
McCLENDON: Is that what you’re thinking?
FUNK: You never know.
McCLENDON: I don’t know.
FUNK: I don’t know about that. But my point being—
McCLENDON: But I think, if he was going to go... I don’t know.
FUNK: Wunderbar, American Glory. Red Dot.
McCLENDON: We got a bunch of hippie friends, shit like that.
FUNK: Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm... Where did you go, where’s his best, most favorite place to hang out.
McCLENDON: Probably at the bars.
FUNK: Which bar? Savoia? Ever hang out at the Savoia?
McCLENDON: Not often.
McCLENDON: ’Cause, I just don’t like to go down there myself, I can’t say why... Too much shit happens there.
FUNK: Like what? [Crosstalk]
McCLENDON: You tell me what kind of stuff that happens there.
FUNK: I don’t go to Savoia!
McCLENDON: You a cop, it ain’t like you don’t know. You been here forever.
FUNK: [Laughs] Seems like forever.
McCLENDON: —that bullshit to me.
FUNK: [Laughs] Well, I just wanted to find out if that’s why you don’t go down there, too many problems with people down there.
McCLENDON: I don’t really have problems with anybody.
[Funk then tries to turn this conversation toward the upcoming indictment, and use the foundation laid above to pit McClendon and Cross against each other by implying that McClendon will be made to take the fall for his friend. However, McClendon doesn’t bite on the gambit.]
FUNK: Let me ask you this. Knowing who Quintin is, and knowing the people Quintin knows , and let’s just say, this whole indictment thing, when they open up this indictment, you’re going to be the first one. You’re going to be the first one that they’re going to see... Jamont McClendon. What’s he do? He don’t have a job. He’s got a kid. He—and this will be their words—he’s got a kid, he don’t work, he’s just drawin’ off of everybody else. Never had a job, never really amounted to much. And I’m just saying, this is what people are going to start thinking. Then you get—here’s Jamont McClendon, he gets caught up, here’s Quintin Cross. Suit, tie, got a lawyer with him, he was an elected official in Hudson. He’s got friends at the Red Dot. He’s got political friends, he’s got friends with money. What’s he going to say when he comes to court? What are they going to say about him? What? If this really happened, what they said in the newspaper, who are they going to believe? If he says he didn’t do it, and you say you didn’t do something... He didn’t do something, you didn’t do something. Who are they going to believe? The guy who’s goin’ to China, or got a nice political position somewhere, got a job, got this, got that, knows the right way to do it—or this poor kid right here?
McCLENDON: I want to tell you this. We didn’t do shit at all. I don’t even know how we’re linked to this.
FUNK: I’m just saying, Jamont, if—
McCLENDON: Out of all the people in the world, us two? Out of all the people in the world.
FUNK: Well? My thing is, who are they gonna, when it comes down to a finger-pointing thing, who are they going to believe, Jamont?
McCLENDON: I don’t care what they believe, because I didn't—
FUNK: I’m just saying, I’m just saying. Think of it this way. You just said a little bit ago, you’ve got a family and a wife and a kid to worry about.
McCLENDON: Yeah, but I’m living good though, so I don’t really care about—
FUNK: How are you going to feel when your own best friend, he going to turn his back on you. Because you’re going to jail, he ain't, right now. Because you’re Jamont, Jamont McClendon. And this is Quintin. The other guy who’s in hiding.
McCLENDON: Well, look in China, and bring him back.
FUNK: And what’s he gonna say?
McCLENDON: I don’t know what he’s gonna say. But I know he’s going to be like, why are we even here?
FUNK: He knows why. He knows why he’s here. He knows why, that’s why he took off, and that’s why he left. He knows exactly why. And I'd be hard-pressed to believe to that you don’t know why.
McCLENDON: So why didn’t I take off then?
FUNK: Because you’re smart enough to come in here and say, I didn’t do something. I didn’t have anything to do with it. You got caught up downstreet, that’s the only reason you’re even here. Because this who thing would have just kept going on and on, and I would have to go sit in front of the church tomorrow, when Leslie’s being laid out, looking for you and him.
McCLENDON: If I was going to run, I could have been left. You guys would’ve never found me. Not in a million years.
FUNK: No? Why do you say that. You’re probably right.
McCLENDON: I know I’m right. You guys would have never found me. But I don’t want to lve my life like that. I do petty shit. I don’t pay fines, shit like that. I don’t really commit real crimes.
FUNK: What’s a real crime?
McCLENDON: Like felonies, shit like that. That’s a real crime.
FUNK: Mmm-hmmm. Why don’t you?
McCLENDON: Because, like, why would I?
FUNK: I don’t know! That’s what I’m here to ask.
McCLENDON: I’m asking questions and you’re not answering none of my questions.
FUNK: Yes, I am.
McCLENDON: No you’re not, you’re beating around the bush. I want to know what’s going on.
FUNK: I, I, I can only tell you so much. I can’t get into specifics. I can call Albany, because Albany P.D.’s looking for you, so’s Troy, and you’re going to be all over the news. You’re going to have your 15 minutes of fame. So... I thought you might have an idea of where Quintin’s hiding out. That’s what I wanted to find out.
McCLENDON: I have no idea. Does Quintin have an indictment?
FUNK: What’s it say in the paper? There’s a warrant for him, right?
McCLENDON: I don’t know. I don’t read the paper much.
FUNK: Everybody knows. You got to be the only one that don’t know.
McCLENDON: Yeah, cause the paper is fucking depressing. I don’t really read the paper...
FUNK: Hmm. Good news don’t sell.
McCLENDON: First thing you open up to is obituaries.
FUNK: As long as your name ain’t in there. Right? I keep looking for mine. Thank god I ain’t been in there yet. ... I want to find out where Quintin is. Or give me a phone number, or someone who would know wehere he is. He ain’t in China, I can tell you that. I know he’s not in China.
McCLENDON: I’m pretty sure he is. I was—I sat right there on Front Street when he left on the bus, and I just walked away.
FUNK: I can get on the bus, and drive up to Price Chopper, and get off the bus right there. How do you get out of the country, Jamont? Let me ask you that—
McCLENDON: He got a passport. Alright? He already had it set up and everything. He had a plane ticket and everything. Everything.
FUNK: Mmm-hmm. OK. You ever heard of Homeland Security? You watch the news. They go after terrorists and shit?
McCLENDON: You call Homeland Security?
FUNK: Maybe we did.
McCLENDON: See, there you go, beating around the bush again [laughing].
FUNK: You’re smart. You’re smarter than that. ... You think I’m half-assing what I’m doing here? I know he didn’t go to China, and I know he’s going to be coming back to Hudson, ’cause he put it on Facebook. I just thought maybe you'd go out of your way to help me out, to maybe give me an idea where he might be. Give me a cell phone number... Because I’m going to tell you something kid, and I hate to say this, hear me out. That little scenario I gave you, who they going to believe, Quintin or Jamont. And don’t take this the wrong way. They ain’t going to believe shit you have to say. ’Cause right now is your opportunity to say, well, why should you be sitting in jail, while he’s out going to the Red Dot and trying to be the victim? You’re going to be the bad guy, you’re going to be the street kid, the thug ont he street that got caught. He’s going to come waltzing in, looking like someone he’s not, and he’s going to come out smelling like a rose. You'll go to prison, and he'll get friggin’probation, if it even goes that far. ’Cause you’re Jamont McClendon, and he’s Quintin Cross, and I’m telling you face to face the way I see it. What I see comin'. And I don’t want to see that happen, because you may not necessarily be the culpable, the most culpable person? You know what that means?
McCLENDON: Yeah, I know what that means, but like I said, I didn’t do nothin’ at all. At all.
FUNK: I’m not asking you what you did. I know what happened. I know what happened that night.
McCLENDON: So what happened that night then?
FUNK: You’re going to find out tomorrow. You don’t want to tell me where Quintin is, I can’t, I’m not going to tell you what I know.
McCLENDON: I really don’t know where Quintin is.
FUNK: Somebody knows where he is. I think you know, I bet you know somebody.
McCLENDON: Why don’t you ask one of his family members?
FUNK: We have. You think they’re going to tell me? ... According to him, you guys do everything together. This is what he said.
McCLENDON: And know what, when I talk to Ellis, I’s going to tell him that the same thing. He’s out of the country. Cause that’s what he said he was going to do. But I didn’t want to tell nobody but Ellis.
FUNK: Well, I’m here because on Ellis’, the Chief’s be—I got to call him the Chief because he’s my boss and I have respect for him. My job is to find out what I can from you that you would tell him. Because he don’t need to get involved. He’s the Chief of Police, that’s not his job. I’m here to do the job, to make Ellis—
McCLENDON: I’ve known him all my life, though.
FUNK: You don’t think he would look out for you? He wouldn’t put his career on the line, he wouldn’t do anything he’s not supposed to.
McCLENDON: I don’t expect him to. He got a job description...
FUNK: And I’m not kissing his ass, but he’ll give everybody two, three, four chances. If you keep fucking it up, then you’re going to pay for it.
McCLENDON: I never got a chance from you guys at all.
FUNK: That’s what—you ain’t never got a chance from me?
McCLENDON: Yeah, from you, maybe.
FUNK: Maybe! I’ve always been good to you. If you run, I’ve always told you, I’m not going to run after you. I’m going to catch you sooner or later. And I caught you, they got you tonight. And I wanted to talk to you when this all went down, this other thing went down, I says I got to talk to Jamont. And I sat right there, and I sat and told your friend right there, when he sat right there, and I said ‘where’s Jamont’ and he said ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.’ I don’t know. So now guess what. You don’t even have the opportunity he had, the got chance he to come in here and tell me what happened. And he got up, and he walked out the door. You’re sitting here in handcuffs, I can’t get in the dis—to tell you what I know... It would make things that much easier, Jamont, if I had the opportunity—so if he told you, to get the fuck out of here, or other people should get out, then they all fucked you, and you’re sitting here, and he’s out doing whatever he’s doing.
McCLENDON: He never told me to go anywhere. He just told me don’t worry about nothin’.
FUNK: You know what? He didn’t give you good advice. But I’m telling you, you would have come in here that same day, and you would have walked right out of here. Just like he did. Not that I’m playin—not that he got any special favor, he had the opportunity to tell me what happened. You got fucked, and didn’t get the opportunity to come tell me what happened. Because now I gotta watch what I say and ask certain things that you want to say, because my hands are tied now. And I would love to hear what you have to say other than ‘I didn’t do anything.’ Come on, Jamont, I didn’t pick you out of thin air. You know I’ve been around, I been here forever.
McCLENDON: All I know, somethin’s up.
McCLENDON: I need to know what’s up.
FUNK: You need to give me, tell me something, and can tell, I’ll tell you whatever I can. But I can’t tell, I can’t get into detail, and even discuss the other par—I don’t want to talk about Jamont. I want to know where Quintin might be... or I want to know who Quintin might be hanging out with. Or what was discussed after. Because I already know what led up to you, to you and Quintin, or Quintin leaving for CHina, and you just being around town. I know what led up to that on the 19th, I know what happened on the 19th, which was a Monday night, or Monday morning. I know what happened. So does he. Now, you know what? If he didn’t tell you, then he really stuck it to you, because he knows what happened. So you’re on your own to figure out what the fuck happened that night.
McCLENDON: He tell me he was questioned about somethin’, and that was it.
FUNK: Questioned about what?
McCLENDON: He say, he was questioned about somethin’. I don—Somethin’ took place, and I was implicated, and he was implicated. I said what, he say he didn’t want to discuss it now. Then he start talkin’ to his mother, and then he start talkin’ to his baby mother, his kid mother.
FUNK: The one up in Albany?
McCLENDON: Yeah. And then, did you check there? You checked there.
FUNK: First floor apartment, on S—Street?
McCLENDON: I don’t know exactly where she lives... [Crosstalk] And then...
FUNK: But just so you know, all, I’ve got detectives, they’r watching it, they’ve got his picture... But I’m thinking he’s going to come down and pay his respects to Leslie, his aunt. And let me tell you what, if you don’t pay your respects to his dead aunt, what kind of person, what kind of man does that tell you he’s going to be?
McCLENDON: Yeah, but you basically just want to catch him. You don’t care.
McCLENDON: You don’t care if he goes there.
FUNK: Yes I do. Yes I do. Cuz, let me ask, if he was incarcerated, and his aunt died, you mean to tell me he wouldn’t want to go? Guys do that shit all the time, Jamont. I know that. Whether they like him or not. But right now, he’s scared, he don’t know what to do. You got caught. Tell me he don’t know. He knows you’re here. He’s sweating right now, being afraid of what you’re going to tell me. You know what? Maybe he should be. I wasn’t there that night, but I know what happened. You guys were there.
McCLENDON: Where were we?
FUNK: At his house on 5th Street.
McCLENDON: Yeah, we were. We were sitting there on the porch, getting drunk. A bunch of people where there—
FUNK: Fryin’ turkeys. Right? Fried turkey?
McCLENDON: How the fuck did you know that?
FUNK: Who the fuck are you talking to, kid? I don’t know everything, but I kn—just so you know.
McCLENDON: So you all were watching this?
FUNK: No-ho. I was home in bed, Jamont. I got called at 6:30 in the morning to come in here. I’m in bed at 10 o’clcok at night on a good night. But I do my job, and I ask questions. And that’s what I gotta do. And unfortunately or fortunately, however, you want to look at it, my direction, I get led to certain places.
FUNK: I don’t wanna see you in an any worse situation you are right now. I want to know—I would love to know what you know right now. But... What I want to—about what happened that night. Because I’d love to hear your version of it, other than ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ because I know you know. Anyway. I want to know where Ja—where—if Quintin wasn’t in China, if he was in the, if he wasn’t have this world trip lanned, where he might be, where he might go, other than his baby’s mother’s house up on, up in Albany.
McCLENDON: Check in any one of his family’s house.
FUNK: OK, I can ch—
McCLENDON: We’re not related, people just think we are.
FUNK: I thought you were his cousin.
McCLENDON: No, people just think we are.
FUNK: Are you related to the Chief? I heard you’re his cousin, too.
McCLENDON: The Chief?
FUNK: Chief’s your cousin?
FUNK: Alright. I tell you what, Jamont, I hear a million different stories.
McCLENDON: Yeah, but that’s what you should do. He got sisters, he got brothers.
[They discuss Cross’s brothers, sisters and other relatives, and where they live]
FUNK: Where would you go?
McCLENDON: I have no place to go.
[Funk again tries the strategy of pitting Cross against McClendon]
FUNK: I wanted to get your version, because I, I would believe you, over, over... And I’m not shittin’ ya. Because you’ve got a lot to—like I said, they’ll look at you, and say fuck him, pardon my French. Fuck, you know what? Jamont, he’s got, what’s he gonna do? What’s he going to amount to in society, where, this kid here is going to go to China, teach people how to speak English. They don’t give two shits about guys like you. I hate to say it.
McCLENDON: I know they do.
FUNK: That’s the bullshit part of it. And I’ll tell you another thing, and this aint me talkin’, I’m just telling you what I see. You don’t, cause, when it boils down to it, it’s, it’s you or me. And I say that hypothet—as a hypothetically, it’s going to be either him or you. You know what, fuck, Jamont, you’re my man, I ain’t gonna, I’m not going, I’m going to use what people I know, and this going is to fall on you. And I’ve seen it for a long time, Jamont, I’ve been around, I’ve been around enough to see guys do it on a regular basis. And I don’t want to see this happen to you. Cause like you say, you get drunk, you might run, get in a fight here or there, get a resist cahrge, whatever. But it’s never been a felony where you’re going to wind up going to prison. You’re not the prison guy. You’re not a prison guy. And I’m not saying Quintin is, iether, But I know Quintin’s smart enough to say, let’s see, me, or Quintin—or, me, or Jamont. You’re going to use everything—
McCLENDON: I don’t even have the type of record he has.
FUNK: It don’t matter, bud. It don’t matter. You know peopl—If you didn’t know Quintin, would you go stand out, hanging out at the Red Dot?
McCLENDON: Yeah, I would actually.
FUNK: Would you really?
McCLENDON: Yeah, that’s just my style. See that’s the thing about you, they gave you wrong because of my appearance.
FUNK: There you go.
McCLENDON: That’s the thing about it.
FUNK: There you go. Because when this comes to court, and it goes before a jury, you’re going to sit there and they’re going to to just that. It aint’ nothing to do with the color of your skin. It ain’t got anything to do but who you know. That’s what it all boils down to in life. It’s who you know, and who, and the connections that you—
McCLENDON: What are even the charges?
FUNK: I don’t know, it’s an indictment.
McCLENDON: You can’t tell me the charges. C’mon, you know you know.
FUNK: It’s charging you with a felony, a sealed indictment number.
McCLENDON: A sealed indictment? Ain’t that drugs?
FUNK: No. Not drugs. What did Quintin tell you?
McCLENDON: Huh? ... Quintin said we took something. He ain’t told me from where, he didn’t ell me where.
FUNK: C’mon, Jamont. You know what he said.
McCLENDON: Quintin is very secretive, and he like, and he smiled about it like, these motherfucking, like they keep tryin’ me, he like, cause he got a lawsuit on it, or some shit like that from the last time, because he got falsely accused—
FUNK: Who did!
McCLENDON: Y’all didn’t falsely accuse him. But y’all sent him upstate illegally.
FUNK: I didn’t send anybody upstate.
McCLENDON: He said, so they trying to get to all of us. He was like, but don’t you worry about it, I got somethin’ for ’em.
FUNK: He’s got something for us?
FUNK: Uh-oh. Like what?
McCLENDON: That’s what he said.
FUNK: Someone gonna shoot me and kill me?
FUNK: I hope not.
McCLENDON: He’s not like that. He know politics. He’ll play politics, you know.
FUNK: YOu know, the hwole race thing? Cause he told me, the only reason I brought him in was cause I think all black people look alike. You think I’m racist?
McCLENDON: No, I don’t think you’re racist.
FUNK: You think I’m prejudiced?
FUNK: I don’t discriminate against nobody, Jamont.
McCLENDON: I think you got the wrong person. You need to let me up out of thses cuffs. I know that.
FUNK: [Laughs] I can’t do that.
McCLENDON: I know that.
FUNK: I think, I gotta get into it.
McCLENDON: I think the rest of them might be racist, though?
FUNK: Do you really?
McCLENDON: Yeah, especially the—who’s the fuckin’ D.A. again?
FUNK: Who, Czajka?
McCLENDON: Yeah, definitely.
FUNK: He ain’t racist. What’s a racist to you?
McCLENDON: Hate for somethin’ else. It don’t have to be a skin color. It can be a demeanor, it can be a demeanor, it can be anything.
FUNK: Do you hate me?
McCLENDON: No. Why would I even be talkin’ to ya?
McCLENDON: Been out of jail a couple of weeks.
FUNK: [laughing] Well, guess what, bud? You’re going to be going back tonight. I just wanted to find out what you might know or what you wanted to talk to the Chief about. I think that—go ahead.
McCLENDON: I would have came here, but my record and everything, sometimes people don’t want to hear shit
FUNK: I’d come pick you up, if you called me... I wanted to find out what happened before I had to get an indictment, before I had to sit in front of the grand jury and presented my evidence. And they found there was enough to indict. You think I like doing what I gotta—there’s days where I hate doing what I gotta do. Cause you’re not a, I don’t think you’re a hardened criminal. You’re just a guy that gets fucked up and then does foolish things.
McCLENDON: This is gonna go very far, cuz I’m not just going to let them accuse me of something that—nah, it’s not gonna happen.
FUNK: ALright. I’ve lost some, I win some, and I don’t consider it a win. I’ve had convictions and I’ve had acquittals. they call them wins and losses. Cause when I put, when someone goes to jail, bad people belong in jail and go to prison.. There are a few bad ones there who should be there that aren’t. You’re not one of the bad ones. Like I said, you get caught up in stuff that you don’t normally, that normally you wouldn’t do. And at times I think that you get led to believe that it’s going to be all right because of who you are, who you’re with. I don’t want this to be one of those situations. I would like to know where Quintin would be...
McCLENDON: You’re asking me all these questions, but you’re not answering none of mine... You gotta know what the charge is. You said you worked the case. You definitely know what the charge is.
FUNK: I was asked questions in front of the grand jury, which I’m not allowed to discuss. The grand jury is a secret preceding. The D.A. and all the grand jurors discuss the evidence, and what can be charged. That’s why it’s a sealed indictment.
McCLENDON: I just want to know what the charge is.
FUNK: What’d the newspaper say.
McCLENDON: [Long pause] I don’t remember what the newspaper said, or I wouldn’t be asking you. I want some for real shit, I just want to know what the charges are.
FUNK: Well, hold on a second...
McCLENDON: You got a newspaper in here?
FUNK: ... I’ve got a copy of it. [To Officer] You got the packet in there? [Funk steps out for several minutes] Now, this is what was in the newspaper. [They sit side-by-side and look at a paper]
McCLENDON: Burglary at the City Hall? What?
FUNK: So there ain’t no drug stuff—
McCLENDON: Can they just say that?
FUNK: That’s what I’m investigating.
McCLENDON: You couldn’t just say that?
FUNK: You asked me what the warrant said. What’s the warrant say?
McCLENDON: How could they say that?
FUNK: So that’s what’s in the newspaper. ... They’re taking advantage—you’re being taken advantage of, whether you believe it or not. You’re getting bad information. You’re going to be the fall guy on this, Jamont, I’m telling you. I’m telling you as I sit right here—
McCLENDON: Third degree burglary.
McCLENDON: At City Hall. For third degree burglary. What the hell was taken?
McCLENDON: Like what?
FUNK: What do you think? What are you gonna bur—what are you going to steal when—
McCLENDON: [Incredulous] What the hell could you take from City Hall? Only thing I ever went there for was a birth certificate.
FUNK: I don’t know. I don’t know what goes through people’s heads.
McCLENDON: Oh, my goodness.
FUNK: All I’m saying is, all that stuff I said to you before, I meant what I said. You put these two guys side-by-side, sittin’ in court. You have a right to go to a trial, which would be a good idea. But who are they going to look at, who are they going to believe, who are they going to look at? The former alderman, the scholar going to China? Jamont McClendon, lengthy criminal record. Doesn’t really do much. So when, I say all of that because, when this all comes out, there’s a story to be told. He’s going to have a story, and you’re going to have a story. The jurty’s going to be able to say, let’s see, tlet’s think this over here... He’s got a lot going for him. This guy... Cause at a trial that all gets brought out. He got bad checks, or used a credit card. What’s this guy done? What’s he done? They don’t care?
FUNK: He’s got a ten-page rap sheet. He’s got a felony. You’re smart. Ahh, credit card. Oh, this guy—assault. Resisting. Assault. Resisting. Escape. Holy shit.
McCLENDON: Yeah, I know.
FUNK: This is a bad... He’s the ringl—he made this guy do something he didn’t want to do. That’s what I’m saying I see coming down the road. That’s what you need to think about in your head. [...] He told you, don’t worry about. I got in a little trouble, and I walked out. Here you sit, and he’s somewhere doing this, wondering ‘what’s Jamont telling the police?’
McCLENDON: I don’t know, man. I wish I knew where he was. Man, oh, man. Lying motherfucker.
FUNK: [...] I feel bad, because you’re in a shitty situation. I don’t want to see you get fucked because of somebody else.
FUNK: I’m just thinking out loud. As people that don’t do this.
McCLENDON: He told me he’s going to China. That was the whole week. That was the only reason I was with him for the few days. We had a cookout. We had some friends in front of his house, there were a bunch of us, there were people there I didn’t even know. I think a couple days before that we was at Savoia’s, we had the birthday party at Savoia.
FUNK: Kind of like a going-away party.
McCLENDON: Yeah. You know. That was it.
FUNK: So that Monday afternoon, when you were at his mother’s house. After he left here.
McCLENDON: Monday afternoon?
FUNK: That Monday, when he came to the police station, when I talked to him. Alright. What did he say to you after he left here?
McCLENDON: He just said... Well, first of all, he didn’t even tell me he went at first. He just said, ‘Oh, these motherfuckers picked me up for some bullshit.’ I said, what do you mean? And he said, um, he said me and you did something. He’s like, but don’t worry about it. I said, Did what? He’s like, ‘took something.’ He’s like ‘You never took nothing a day in your life, and I know I didn’t take nothing. These crackers is trying to get me again. And I ain’t falling for the bullshit.’ I said what he do then, he said asked questions. I said, what it had to do with me? ... They said you showed him some pictures. Somebody did, said, is that Jamont? He’s like, what you talk about, is that Jamont? That ain’t Jamont. And he was like, well, we think it’s Jamont, you should tell him to come in. And then he said, he said... Or he laughed and made another cracker joke.
FUNK: A cracker joke?
FUNK: What is it? Tell me.
McCLENDON: He said to me another cracker joke.
FUNK: You can tell, I won’t be insulted.
McCLENDON: No, I don’t like that type of shit, you know. And I was at my aunt’s house, and I go to my girl. Fuckin’ [name redacted]—didn’t tell me no shit. And then he was like, well, we should go out to eat [and] to a movie. ... We left, we went to American Glory, had a few drinks, and then we left and went to Baba Louie’s. And then we partied a little bit, and the next day, he got on a bus.
FUNK: [...] So you went out that night?
McCLENDON: No, we were at people’s houses, though. We weren’t at bars and shit.
FUNK: Did he say anything about worrying about getting picked up, getting arrested?
McCLENDON: No, I wouldn’t be fuckin’ walkin’ around like that.
FUNK: I didn’t think so. And then you saw him get on the bus.
McCLENDON: And that was it.
FUNK: And that was the last time you spoke with him?
McCLENDON: That was the last time I spoke with him. I saw his phone number was [redacted]. But there’s no point [calling], because he turned it off.
FUNK: So he got on the bus down on Front Street [on Tuesday]?
McCLENDON: On Front Street, yeah.
FUNK: What bus goes down there? [Crosstalk] To go up to Albany?
McCLENDON: Yeah. It only costs $5.50.
FUNK: Oh, so it’s like the commuter bus...
McCLENDON: You didn’t know that?
FUNK: Hell no, Jamont. I never worked in Albany. I’ve been working here my whole life.
FUNK: You talked to him on Facebook? ...
McCLENDON: Yeah. But I talked to him through my little brother’s Facebook.
FUNK: You know what Jamont, I’m just going to give you a little advice. ANd I give this advice to a lot of people, including my own family. What you decide to do now is a hard decision to make. But. The hardest decisions are usually the right decisions to make.
McCLENDON: Yeah, but, you really think I know where he is, and I don’t.... Why wouldn’t I tell you? At this point, I wouldn’t really give a fuck.
FUNK: Did he tell you everything that you needed to know? Did he tell you all that?
McCLENDON: No, he didn’t.
FUNK: What did he say?
McCLENDON: Selfish bastard. He just said that you showed him a few pictures, and you said that looked like Jamont. He basically gave me the impression that you guys looking for me for somethin’. I said, I didn’t do shit. ... He didn’t exactly tell me. If he exactly told me, with that situation, that shit at City Hall, I’d be like, ‘oh, shit.’
FUNK: City Hall, think about it. That’s high profile. That’s an important thing, that’s the City government.
FUNK: When he gets picked up, it’s all going to fall on you...
McCLENDON: If he really went to China, he’s not getting picked up.
FUNK: Well, he didn’t go to China, I can tell ’ya.
McCLENDON: Where the hell that gonna leave me?
McCLENDON: I didn’t do shit. I didn’t. No. I will go all the way with this...
FUNK: I hope you do.
McCLENDON: I don’t burglarize. I don’t. ... So you’re saying I broke into a building, but didn’t take nothing?
FUNK: I’m not saying you broke into any building. I’m saying what a burglary is.
McCLENDON: I know what you’re not saying, and I know what you are saying, but I know what’s being said. ... So we broke into a building, but didn’t take anything? Get the fuck outta here... I don’t believe this is going to go very far.
FUNK: Maybe it won’t Jamont.
McCLENDON: But you know, Czajka’s in office, so he’s probably going to want to send us somewhere...
FUNK: Only where the evidence goes...
McCLENDON: I never broke into a building. And there’s no evidence on me.
McCLENDON: Did you collect the evidence?
FUNK: Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.
McCLENDON: Well, I tell you, maybe Mr. Funk, you’re wrong.
FUNK: I’ve been wrong before, bud.
McCLENDON: Huh. You haven’t been wrong much, though.
McCLENDON: Oh, that’s the problem. [Points at surveillance camera] We can’t even really talk in here. We can’t even really have a conversation.
FUNK: [Laughs] Yes, we can. That’s here for me, really. So I don’t say anything inappropriate.
McCLENDON: I wish I knew where that motherfucker was. Because I would have came when he came. I didn’t think it was that serious, you know? Cause by the way he said it, it was just so... He was just so fluffy with it, that...
FUNK: He wasn’t concerned about it.
McCLENDON: Then a couple days later, when I saw the paper, and he’s in China, I’m like holy shit. I’m like damn, for real? [Pretends to be holding a phone] Said, can I speak to the detective? Who am I speaking to? I have to speak to a detective? Then I hung up. Then I do it again? Can I speak to somebody? Hold on, one minute please? ... Not going to let them GPS where I am. If I’m going to come, I’m going to come. Not going to happen. So then I’m thinking like, damn, what the fuck? Hold up, I didn’t do nothin’, no! ... Then I’m thinking, what am I gonna do? So I said, fuck it. I stayed at my girl’s house, but then I said, I’m not gonna stay here, I don’t want to get you in trouble. ... Everybody don’t have the same heart as you [meaning Funk]. They gonna send somebody else there, and it’s gonna turn into something else. ...
FUNK: That ain’t true.
McCLENDON: You cops are grimy... I know I ran a lot, but what would you do if I jumped in my car and just started running toward you.
FUNK: I’d probably run, too.
McCLENDON: They provoke it. [...]
FUNK: They’ve got a job to do, too, Jamont. ... If everyone was like me, guys would be getting away with stuff all the time. Because I like to believe what people tell me. Believe it or not. I’m naïve enough to believe that guys are being honest to me. That’s my fatal flaw. And I’ll always be the way I am.
FUNK: I know you kept your head down low because you didn’t want it to escalate to what you said. As soon as someone saw ’ya, this is what was going to happen.
McCLENDON: I’m really being arrested because y’all haven’t seen us. It went to the grand jury because you haven’t seen us. Is that it? Basically?
FUNK: No! No.
McCLENDON: Yeah. Yeah. Hell yeah. That’s basically it. Cause you put your back to the wall, and you’re like, fuck, you know?
FUNK: Put my back to the wall? Nah.
McCLENDON: Or whatever. ‘Fuck, let’s send the paperwork further, I think we should do it.’ You probably had everybody else up your asses, saying this, and that, and this and that. And just got tired of it. That’s probably what happened.
FUNK: I look at it this way. Nobody got killed. Nobody—You didn’t rob a bank. The building didn’t get blown up... What happened, happened. It could have been a heck of a lot worse. By my whole point was to talk to you to find out what you knew that day when I spoke to Quintin, my next person to speak to, you can ask anybody, I need to speak to Jamont. You can ask anybody. I wanted to talk to you more than I wanted to talk to him. Because I believed that you would have been honest, more honest to me, than Quintin was honest to me that day. I’ve never dealt with Quintin. That was the first time I had a face-to-face conversation. I can talk to you. Cuase I gain nothing by bullshitting or lying to you.
McCLENDON: Right. ... He said that you showed him a picture of me. Like, somebody took a picture of something... And said it was me. And I said, ‘What?’ I said, yeah, right, I never left your house. But he said, well that’s what he said. The way he acts, you’ve got to laugh about what he does, but...
FUNK: Listen, I have a good sense of humor. However it was said. I have a job to do, I have evidence that I collect and I pick up and I go where the evidence leads me. Now... No, I can’t even go there.
McCLENDON: Yes, you should.
FUNK: Nah. I can’t. I can’t. I don’t want to jeopardize anything. And I don’t want to get you in trouble, and I definitely don’t want to get me in trouble.
McCLENDON: There’s nobody here [in Hudson]. It’s a bunch of little kids, or people from fuckin’ New York, or—
FUNK: Why do they all come up here, may I ask you? You ever hear them talkin’, why they like it here so much?
McCLENDON: Because the drugs are cheaper down there and they can sell them more for up here.
FUNK: Still? That’s still the #1 reason?
McCLENDON: Some people, it’s just for better livin’. Because like us, they don’t want to go through the bullshit down there.
FUNK: There’s bullshit no matter where you go.
McCLENDON: It’s cheaper to live here.
FUNK: Yeah, I’ll give them that. I’ll give them that. So listen, you don’t want to tell me no more? Because I’m going to call the D.A. when I’m done talking to ya. Let him know that, you know, you talked to me for a good hour-and-a-half.
McCLENDON: I don’t know, I’m trying to think on it now. Could I have a tissue please?
FUNK: Hang on to that.
McCLENDON: [blows nose] ... I need my last cigarette before I go to jail forever.
FUNK: I can get you a cigarette. You ain’t going to jail forever.
McCLENDON: Yeah, it seems like it.
FUNK: It just seems like it now.
[They move next to the office window, where McClendon smokes a cigarette]
FUNK: When this talk started about leavin...
McCLENDON: I wasn’t talkin’ bout going to leave. He made everything sound like it was going to be OK.
FUNK: He sugarcoated everything, to make you think that it was no big deal like—
McCLENDON: He embellished it, like, what the fuck? I’m thinkin’ that now.
FUNK: I’ve got more, you don’t have to smoke it down to the filter. Now, you’re hippy friends out in Harlemville, would he go out to Harlemville?
McCLENDON: Yeah, they’d protect him. They’d protect him.
McCLENDON: Why am I so important in the inquiry?
FUNK: There’s what happened, and there’s what’s being told what happened. Somewhere in between, someone is going to tell, someone’s going to say what happened... The true, honest, what happened. And I believe that is you... I don’t want to see you sit in jail like you’re public enemy #1 and him walking around like I’m something better than that. Because when it all boils down we’re all the same...
McCLENDON: I didn’t go in that building. I didn’t do anything. ... In fact, there was a cop sitting on the corner [the night of the burglary, when they were partying on the porch; obvious worn down, McClendon alleges that cocaine was present at the party.]
FUNK: You’re not a bad guy, you’re not a bad person. We all make mistakes. A guy told me years ago, that’s why they put erasers on pencils.