Schenectady

Schenectady police lieutenant pleads not guilty to criminal contempt charge

Alleged incident occurred at Union College hockey rink
Lt. Mark McCracken leaves Schenectady City Court after pleading not guilty to a criminal contempt charge Tuesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Lt. Mark McCracken leaves Schenectady City Court after pleading not guilty to a criminal contempt charge Tuesday.

SCHENECTADY — City police Lt. Mark McCracken was arraigned Tuesday on charges that accuse him of violating a court order during an altercation at the Union College hockey rink, according to court documents.

The second-degree criminal contempt charge is related to an order of custody and visitation between McCracken and his wife, according to court documents.

Assistant District Attorney Kim Waldin would not provide further information on the case following the arraignment.

McCracken, dressed in a gray suit, pleaded not guilty in front of City Court Judge Mark Caruso. The charge comes after he came in “close physical proximity” to Cassie Walker, his wife, according to court documents. Walker and McCracken are currently going through a divorce, according to McCracken’s attorney, Rebbecca Bauscher.

Walker and McCracken have a son together, according to Bauscher.

The incident occurred at the Union College hockey rink on Jan. 7, according to the charging documents. The order McCracken allegedly violated was signed by state Supreme Court Judge Barry Kramer on Dec. 8.

McCracken turned himself in to city police Tuesday, according to Bauscher.

He was released on his own recognizance, but Caruso said he must stay arrest-free and abide by the order of custody and visitation as a condition of his release.

Bauscher said the order is not considered an order of protection. She said the order sets what type of contact McCracken is allowed to have with Walker and his son. An order of protection results from a criminal charge, and no new order was issued by the judge on Tuesday, Bauscher said.

Bauscher said “she is confident” she will prove McCracken’s innocence.

McCracken, who was sworn in as an officer in July 2002 and promoted to lieutenant in May 2011, was considered to be a finalist to for the chief of police post in 2016. He served as the police spokesman at one point.

In a statement released early Tuesday night, Police Chief Eric Clifford said the city’s Office of Professional Standards worked with the county Sheriff’s Office on the investigation.

McCracken remains suspended with pay until an internal investigation is complete, Clifford said.

Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens, who oversees discipline of the Police, Fire and Building Departments, said he could not speak to the arrest of McCracken during at editorial board meeting with The Daily Gazette on Tuesday.

Any disciplinary action taken against a police officer would be discussed between Clifford, the Office of Professional Standards and city Corporation Counsel. If disciplinary charges are filed, Eidens would preside over the disciplinary hearings. He said those proceedings could overlap with a criminal court case.

McCracken left the courthouse with Bauscher and an unidentified woman. He refused to comment.

McCracken is scheduled to return to City Court at 9 a.m. on Jan. 31.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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