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What you need to know for 01/22/2017

Schenectady police officer arrested for third time

Schenectady police officer arrested for third time

Schenectady Police Officer John W. Lewis was arrested Monday for the third time in seven months, thi
Schenectady police officer arrested for third time
John W. Lewis

Schenectady Police Officer John W. Lewis was arrested Monday for the third time in seven months, this time accused of threatening to kill his ex-wife.

Lewis, 39, of Oregon Avenue, was charged with third-degree stalking and second-degree aggravated harassment, both misdemeanors. He is accused of threatening Allison Fitz Lewis, his former wife, three times last week and a fourth time in August, each alleged incident spelled out in court papers.

In a telephone conversation with his ex-wife Saturday, Lewis allegedly told her he would be at her house every night and, if she were not there, he would go looking for her.

“He further stated that if he found her with someone, he was going to kill whoever she was with and kill her,” the court paperwork reads.

Each of Lewis’ three arrests since April have come as his marriage dissolved. The divorce was final in September, county records show.

After each arrest, he has been suspended without pay for 30 days, as he was Monday. Between the suspensions he returned to the payroll, but not to work.

Lewis was arraigned Monday and released to return to court Nov. 24. His listed attorney, Michael Horan, did not return a call for comment. Police union President Lt. Robert Hamilton also did not return a call.

Lewis was first charged in April, accused of the violation of harassment of his estranged wife. The case stemmed from allegations that he grabbed and pushed his wife during a dispute over their child. He was acquitted of that in June in a City Court trial.

In the meantime, however, he was also charged with a more serious count of criminal contempt, accused of violating an order of protection issued in the harassment case. In that case, he is accused of phoning the woman several times, driving by her and going to her work. The contempt case remains pending.

The latest allegations are more explicit, including direct threats. Papers reference four separate alleged incidents, one each Nov. 4, 7, and 8 and one Aug. 13.

In the August incident, Lewis allegedly told his ex-wife he was coming to her new boyfriend’s house to talk to her. Lewis also allegedly told her he would never let her be with anyone else.

The divorce was final in late September.

On Nov. 4, Lewis allegedly told his ex-wife personal items from her e-mail. Three days later, at about 4:30 a.m., Lewis repeatedly rang her door bell, asking whom she was with, according to papers.

It was on Saturday that Lewis allegedly told her he would keep coming over to her house, and then threatened to kill her.

Monday’s charges did not include a new contempt charge. The previous order of protection expired with the June acquittal. A new order, however, was issued Monday.

Lewis in July filed a notice of claim against the city, alleging that the city Police Department worked with his ex-wife to force him from his job, publicly embarrass him and create a hostile work environment, according to the notice.

He also alleged that police refused to accept an application for a warrant in which Lewis was the victim and to acknowledge his status as a victim of his ex-wife and another woman.

City officials tried to get Lewis fired 10 years ago over accusations that he used a racial slur during an off-duty incident on Feb. 27, 1998, behind the city police headquarters on Liberty Street. Several people overheard the remark.

Lewis kept his job after an arbitrator ruled that the city was “unduly harsh” in firing him.

Kevin Luibrand, Lewis’ attorney in the claim against the city, said Monday his client has since gone on disability for an undisclosed ailment. Nothing new has happened with the possible lawsuit, Luibrand said. He said it would be inappropriate for him to comment further.

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