Hearing officer: Suspended Schenectady cop should not be fired

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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— The Schenectady police officer who got into a loud argument with his girlfriend on a public street should not be fired from the force, Hearing Officer Jeffrey Selchick recommended.

Selchick sent his 59-page recommendation to the city Monday. Today, Mayor Gary McCarthy said he did not plan to fight Selchick’s ruling.

“I’m not going to appeal,” he said. “There is an appeal process, but the likelihood of any municipality prevailing — it’s stacked against us. I’m not looking to spend time or money in a frivolous manner.”

Eric Peters was suspended with pay in March 2011 after being arrested on domestic abuse charges. He was acquitted in January.

Selchick said the witnesses could not have seen Peters strike his girlfriend. Peters and his girlfriend testified that they were merely gesticulating while arguing.

“Significantly, the Hearing Officer notes the location of [the witness’] car and [the girlfriend’s] truck, the fact that the truck’s rear seat window on the driver’s side is heavily tinted, and the configuration of the interior of the truck made it very difficult for either [witness] to have had a clear view of what was occurring in the truck,” Selchick wrote. “Adding to their difficulty in obtaining a clear view, of course, was the fact that their observations were made in the evening hours.”

Selchick also visited the location to see how far apart the two cars were on that night and said he felt the distance was too far to see anything clearly.

Peters’ attorney, Kevin Luibrand, said Peters has been offered jobs at other police departments but wanted to clear his name here instead.

“Eric is one of the good guys,” Luibrand said. “He wanted to clear up his reputation.”

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June 19, 2012
9:13 p.m.
wmarincic says...

The Gazette bashed, berated, vilified, beat down and did everything it could to destroy this police officer and he won. He was found innocent in court and he was found innocent by the hearing officer. How does it feel to be wrong again. Maybe you should leave the good guys alone and take a look at who runs that department, Chaires. Too many chiefs and not enough indians as the saying goes. BTW, the Times Union had this decision online at least five hours before the Gazette did, you were scooped by an out of town paper.

June 21, 2012
8:50 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Now maybe the Gazette can/will retract all of the negative comments/editorials/ and connotations made against Officer Peters. My guess is that they won't. The Gazette should admit that they were duped by the Stratton Administration into thinking that everything that happened at the police department warranted termination. I do not condone any of the behavior that these officer's exhibited, but termination needs to be reserved for situations where discipline will not work. The city and department have too much money invested in these officers to just discard them. Officer Michael Brown was an excellent officer and deserves to still be employed. I, for one, am glad that the "Witch Hunt" is over.

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