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Hudson Valley Press

December 12th, 2012

Chaotic end to 10-hour standoff in Newburgh

City of Newburgh police officers, members of the SWAT team, and federal marshals wait for 26-year-old Gosford Lembhard, brother of Michael Lembhard, outside of 57 Liberty Street in the City of Newburgh during a recent 10-hour standoff.

NEWBURGH – Another member of the Lembhard family recently became the object of a 10-hour standoff in a Liberty Street, Newburgh house. The lengthy standoff ended in a matter of seconds when Gosford Lembhard, 26, burst through a window of the 57 Liberty Street residence and climbed onto the deck of a neighboring home, where he was smothered by the police, SWAT team members and federal marshals who had been waiting out the situation since before sunrise.

Dozens of bystanders - including members of Lembhard’s extended family - who had been kept about 50 yards away from the house by police tape, ignored the police line and closed in as the chaotic end played out. There were no serious incidents stemming from this, due in large part to the sizeable police presence.

Even after being tasered, it took several officers about three minutes to stuff Lembhard into a squad car, which quickly departed the scene at about 4 p.m.

Gosford Lembhard is the younger brother of Michael Lembhard, who was shot to death in a confrontation with City of Newburgh police officers last March.

Gosford got into trouble of his own on September 9th of this year when he allegedly fired a gun into a car and a building in the City of Newburgh. He was reportedly free on $75,000 bond, but did not show up for a scheduled November 16th arraignment. That’s what prompted the early Wednesday morning visit by police.

Police Chief Michael Ferrara said that while the family name is familiar, this incident was new and isolated.

"It’s a completely separate incident, but you know, we have to handle it, and we handle it as its own isolated incident", Ferrara said. "Just the way it goes. It’s the same family name but it’s a different incident."

Another member of the Lembhard family, however, does not agree that this is an isolated incident. Cousin Juanita King sees this latest confrontation as part of a continuing vendetta.

"They keep coming at us, but the thing is, we’re not giving up", King said. "You can keep doing what you want. You can keep coming at us, but guess what, we’re going to keep coming at you, too."

Attorney Michael Sussman was on the scene throughout the standoff, spending much time in the house with Lembhard and four relatives. At one point, Sussman came out to escort Lembhard’s mother inside, where she remained for about 30 minutes.

"We of course had Michael’s case, and now, we’re eight months after that and we have this exercise of police restraint, and excellent leadership by the police chief in trying to get the situation resolved peacefully," Sussman said. "So, whatever is said about the broader issue, I do think one story of this is that the police department did act with restraint. They did, after a while, involve me and try to let me negotiate with him. I worked with the police department trying to do that."

Sussman said the manner in which the confrontation ended was "worse than it should have been; better than it could have been."

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