Schenectady County

Schenectady police officer sees assault charge reduced to attempted assault

One of two misdemeanors filed against a police officer the city is trying to fire has been reduced,

One of two misdemeanors filed against a police officer the city is trying to fire has been reduced, officials confirmed Friday.

Eric Peters, 36, now of Albany, was charged in March with third-degree assault and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, both class A misdemeanors.

The assault count was reduced Thursday to attempted assault, a lower-level class B misdemeanor, prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham confirmed Friday. That charge and the unlawful imprisonment count remain pending.

Peters is accused of holding his girlfriend inside a car and trying to assault her March 23. He denies the charges, and his girlfriend also denies anything happened. She has also maintained that any injury present that day was due to a dancing mishap earlier in the evening, for which she said there were witnesses.

Tremante-Pelham declined to provide specific reasons for the reduction, other than to say the “facts and circumstances” of the case and additional information that came to light since the arrest led to the change.

Peters is continuing to fight all the accusations, his attorney Kevin Luibrand said Friday.

“The problem is that they arrested him, and after they arrested him, then they did the investigation,” he said.

Regardless, Luibrand said, there is no basis for any charges.

He noted that the reduction came after a defense motion to dismiss the case. That motion remains pending.

Regarding the overall charges, Luibrand said his client is looking forward to the trial.

In papers filed in court at the time of the initial arrest, police allege Peters injured his fiancee, identified in court papers as 43-year-old Bonnie Hathaway-Crandall.

Police allege Peters and Hathaway-Crandall were inside a parked car on Park Place, near their home, when Peters “struck the victim … in her face multiple times, causing her nose to bleed.” Peters also held her by the neck and pulled her hair, preventing her from leaving the vehicle, according to the account in court papers.

The alleged altercation happened about 8:40 p.m. March 17.

The charges, according to papers, were based on a personal investigation by Capt. Stephen LaVare and signed witness statements. The papers did not indicate who those witnesses were, but James Tyner, Hathaway-Crandall’s attorney, said she wasn’t one of them.

The case is due back in court next month.

The police department is attempting to fire Peters based on the charges. His disciplinary hearing, if it is held, has the chance to become the first to be opened to the public, under a recent ruling on the issue.

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