UTICA — The Schenectady police detective arrested in Utica early Thursday is accused of punching a bouncer at a bar, according to Utica police and court records.
Steven Nelson, 33, a 10-year veteran of the Schenectady force, was charged with violation harassment as a result of the incident. The bouncer was uninjured, police said.
The incident happened at the Celtic Harp, a bar in the city, at 12:13 a.m Thursday, records show.
The bouncer responded to something happening in the bar and encountered Nelson, police said.
Nelson at some point punched the bouncer on the left side of his face, according to allegations from the bouncer filed in court.
Police responded, the bouncer pressed charges and Nelson was taken into custody, Utica police spokesmen Lt. Bryan Coromato said.
Nelson was brought back to the station, processed and released to a Schenectady police supervisor who had responded. Nelson is to appear in court May 2.
Schenectady police suspended Nelson with pay as a result of the incident and an internal investigation has been launched, Schenectady officials said.
Coromato did not have information on what led up to the incident. Police we’re reviewing surveillance video, which Schenectady investigators will also have access to.
The bouncer was reacting to something that had occurred inside the establishment, Coromato said.
No one else was charged in the incident.
Coromato wasn’t sure if the supervisor responded from Schenectady or had also been in the area. There were two law enforcement events in the area, a conference and training.
Coromato said he believed Nelson was attending the training at the New York State Prepardness Training Center at the former Oneida County Airport.
Coromato notes that police charged Nelson based on the details of the allegations — physical contact, but no injury. An injury is required for more serious charges to be filed.
“He was handled in a manner that everyone is handled as far as a harassment would go,” Coromato said.
He also noted that officers brought Nelson back to the station for processing, when such accusations that are non-domestic in nature can often be handled at the scene without going back to the station.
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford issued a statement Thursday afternoon in response to Nelson’s arrest.
“The Schenectady Police Department prides itself on being professional, trustworthy, and transparent,” Clifford’s statement reads. “My expectations are that all of our officers conduct themselves as consummate professionals, both on and off duty. While I do not condone the actions of Detective Nelson, I urge the public to continue to support and trust the Schenectady Police Department and its officers.”
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