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Woman accuses Schenectady chief of abuse of power, orchestrating her arrest

Woman accuses Schenectady chief of abuse of power, orchestrating her arrest

Woman was charged with stalking and obscenity charges in April; City says chief acted appropriately
Woman accuses Schenectady chief of abuse of power, orchestrating her arrest
Kimberly Duncan of Mechanicville

SCHENECTADY -- The woman charged with sending nude photos and stalking following an affair with a Schenectady police officer has filed a notice of claim against the city for defamation.

Kimberly Duncan of Mechanicville wrote in a handwritten claim that Police Chief Eric Clifford abused his powers after having her arrested and obtaining orders of protection against her following her arrest on stalking and obscenity charges in April.

The claim was obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Duncan said in the claim that Clifford, “rich with defamation and abuse of power,” called her husband’s place of employment, the New York State Police, about an affair with his brother, Patrolman Sean Clifford. 

She also said Chief Clifford obtained an order of protection against her for himself and five other of his family members, even though, she claims, she'd never met those other family members.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Nobles said Duncan did receive a criminal contempt charge for violating those orders of protection. There are two orders of protection against Duncan, Noble said, but he would not reveal whom they were for. However, he did say that the orders cover more than just two people.

The charges against Duncan remain pending and a non-jury trial is scheduled for next month in Schenectady City Court.

No attorney is listed on her notice of claim, which is a precursor to a potential lawsuit. She is represented by attorney Brian Mercy in her criminal case.

Sgt. Matt Dearing, spokesman for the Schenectady Police Department, referred all questions on the notice to the city Corporation Counsel’s Office.

Carl Falotico, corporation counsel for the city, said in an emailed statement that the city wasn't commenting on any of the specifics brought up in Duncan's claims. He said this was because the allegations made by her are related to the criminal proceedings being brought against her.

"What we can say is that Chief Clifford acted appropriately at all times during his involvement with this situation," Falotico said, adding that the case has since been handed over to the state police to avoid any appearance of conflict.

"This claim has absolutely no merit and we are confident a court will come to the same conclusion," Falotico said.

News of the affair came to light when Duncan was arrested by state police in April for allegedly sending nude photos of herself to Sean Clifford’s wife following the affair, according to court documents. Police also said she threatened to send photos to other people if Sean Clifford and his wife went to the police.

Sean Clifford admitted to the affair, according to state police paperwork filed in court papers.

He did previously made a statement to the media, apologizing to his family.

"This is a difficult time for my family, and I am doing all that I can to protect them," the statement read. "I sincerely apologize to my family for the embarrassment that this has brought to them."

City Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens previously said he would be reviewing Duncan's case. The court documents related to the case did not make any references to on-duty conduct by Sean Clifford, but Eidens said off-duty conduct could result in discipline if it rises to a certain level.

Eidens did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.

In her defamation claim against the city, Duncan claims that Chief Clifford called her husband’s boss with information she said was based on “nothing more to go on than the desperate lie of a scorned older woman, his sister-in-law.”

Duncan also claimed to have suffered damages and injuries when she was removed from the Police Department when she tried to file a complaint against Chief Clifford. 

She claimed Chief Clifford committed “officer misconduct” for her “unlawful arrest, detainment and imprisonment,” when she was arrested for violating an order of protection for being at his place of employment while trying to file a complaint against Sean Clifford’s wife.

Duncan said she was taken to Schenectady County Jail until she could post bail.

Rachel Ward, deputy corporation counsel for the city, said the matter has been sent to the city’s insurance company for review.

Duncan is asking for $10 million for both physical damages and damages to her property. She said she is unable to find a job or an apartment “due to pending charges” and an “absurd number of orders of protection.”

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