Schenectady County

Schenectady cop suspended after domestic abuse allegation

A Schenectady police officer who the city fired and then was forced to rehire 10 years ago has been

A Schenectady police officer who the city fired and then was forced to rehire 10 years ago has been suspended after being accused of grabbing and pushing his wife, police said.

John W. Lewis, 38, of Oregon Avenue, was charged Tuesday with one count of second-degree harassment, a violation. He is accused of grabbing and pushing his wife during a dispute over their child just after 3 p.m. on Plymouth Avenue, according to papers filed in court.

Lewis had been attempting to leave with their infant son. He also allegedly grabbed his wife in the face and neck while she was inside his vehicle with their son, according to papers.

Lewis was suspended without pay shortly after his arrest, police spokesman Lt. Brian Kilcullen said.

“The bottom line is police officers are held to the same laws as everyone else,” Kilcullen said.

Police were summoned after one of the two dialed 911, Kilcullen said, though he was unsure who made the call. One could be heard on the call, while the other could be heard in the background.

The charge came as a result of the woman’s cooperation, Kilcullen said. Because the charge is a violation, the police department’s domestic violence pro-arrest policy did not come into play.

Lewis was fired by the department in 1998, accused of using some variation of a racial slur during an off-duty incident on Feb. 27, 1998, behind city police headquarters on Liberty Street. Several people overheard the remark. The city, however, was ordered to rehire Lewis when an arbitrator ruled the city was “unduly harsh” in firing the policeman for using the racial slur.

Lewis, hired in April 1994, had only one other serious blemish on his record at that time, an unspecified incident that brought him a 24-day suspension in late 1995.

Asked if the 1998 case could have an effect on the current action, Kilcullen said prior history has some bearing on any discipline case.

Lewis is the sixth officer currently on leave. Five others remain on paid leave as authorities investigate whether they used excessive force in a December arrest.

The suspension also comes as the department is using state troopers to help patrol city streets after a string of shootings.

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