Monday, February 28, 2011
[NY] Schenectady Police Officer Lawrence fired 5 years after rollover drunk accident and fight with ex-girlfriend's brother
...At a news conference Monday afternoon, [City of Schenectady Mayor Brian] Stratton announced that he agreed with the recommendation of hearing officer Jeffrey Selchick that Officer Darren Lawrence be terminated for his actions surrounding a Colonie car crash on the Northway in 2006 that included an intoxicated Lawrence fighting with his ex-girlfriend's brother [Mark Viscusi]... Mark suffered a broken back and other injuries from the crash... after the crash, the two men fought over whether to contact police... Viscusi says he and Lawrence had been drinking the night before, and that after the crash, Lawrence did not want to call police...
You really have to visit this article at Albany Times to get the full impact - with photos - of what a BIG DEAL it is to fire a cop in Schenectady. Imagine a news conference announcement your boss is letting you go.
LAST IN STRING OF TROUBLED COPS FIRED: Darren Lawrence had long list of disciplinary troubles as Schenectady officer
Albany Times Union
By Lauren Stanforth
February 28, 2011
[Excerpts] Mayor Brian U. Stratton has fired the last in a string of police officers the city has attempted to push out over the last few years amid scandals of criminal and unethical behavior. At a news conference Monday afternoon, Stratton announced that he agreed with the recommendation of hearing officer Jeffrey Selchick that Officer Darren Lawrence be terminated for his actions surrounding a Colonie car crash on the Northway in 2006 that included an intoxicated Lawrence fighting with his ex-girlfriend's brother in an attempt to leave the scene. In October, a jury in Colonie Town Court acquitted Lawrence of harassment, a violation. But a disciplinary hearing was subsequently held regarding Lawrence's police department employment. The 10-year veteran did not return to duty after November 2008, when in a different incident he was accused of spewing racial slurs and fighting in a bar. In a separate disciplinary hearing, Selchick recommended Lawrence be suspended. Stratton acknowledged Monday that Lawrence has struggled with alcohol problems and has made efforts "to restore himself to good health and to stabilize his family life and relationships." But in the end, it wasn't enough to save the 34-year-old officer's job, with Stratton adding it took two incidents of misconduct and threat of termination for Lawrence to try to be sober... Last year, nine Schenectady police officers quit, retired or were fired for other scandals ranging from domestic problems to prescription drug abuse to use of excessive force. Lawrence was the last remaining disciplinary case of that group... [LINK]
UPDATE: SCHENECTADY OFFICER FIRED AFTER SUSPENSION
February 28, 2011
[Excerpts] ... Lawrence was in court in October 2006, charged with harassment and leaving the scene of an accident. Those charges never stuck, but when the same allegations came up in a city hearing, a hearing officer determined that Lawrence should be fired from his job as a Schenectady police officer. Schenectady's mayor says he supports that decision in spite of Lawrence's efforts to make amends. "In my mind, there is a difference between the officer who responds early to a problem and one who responds only after confronted with the possible loss of his career," said Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton... City Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett says focusing attention on a handful of bad cops isn't fair to the other approximately 150 members of the department... Darren Lawrence had been on paid suspension up until Monday. His salary was approximately $70,000. His termination takes effect immediately... Darren Lawrence never faced criminal charges for that incident, but Schenectady officials say a hearing officer found that Lawrence didn't report a car accident, engaged in physical abuse and harassment and other intoxicated behavior that brought discredit to the city police force. [Full article here]
EXCERPTS FROM 7 OLDER ARTICLES:
Sch'dy Police Officer Involved in Crash, Fight on Northway
Oct 16, 2006
The vehicle, with a Schenectady Police officer, and another person inside, struck a guardrail... sending the car airborne, then rolling over into a ditch filled with water... Chief Heider says the assault victim walked to a home, just off the Northway in the middle of the night, woke the folks who live there, who called the cops. But the assault victim was so drunk, and so beaten up, police say he was unable to tell them where the accident happened... Schenectady Police meanwhile, are saying very little... Colonie Police are also very tight-lipped about the accident. They will not identify either of the people involved, and they will not show us the accident report... Chief Heider does say that the victim was beaten up pretty bad...
Colonie crash probed
Albany Times Union
October 18, 2006
...After the crash, the two men fought over whether to report the accident to police, and one of them claims he was assaulted... both men had injuries that could have come from either a crash or a fight... "This is not unlike a lot of Saturday night (incidents) that people regret Monday morning," [Colonie Police Chief Steve] Heider said...
New Exclusive Details in Crash Involving Sch'dy Cop
Oct 18, 2006
...the off-duty officer is Darren Lawrence. Also in the car, Mark Viscusi, whose sister is named in the crashed car's registration... Mark suffered a broken back and other injuries from the crash... after the crash, the two men fought over whether to contact police...
Colonie police investigating accident
10/18/2006 9:41 AM
Colonie Police Chief Steve Heider said, "There's a lot of allegations floating around" Now it's up to Colonie police to sort out what started as an accident ... and has turned into a more complicated case... "That was a rollover accident, extensive damage to the car"... Heider said they're looking into all possibilities but said an assault may be tough to prove because of the accident. He said, "It's kind of difficult to do the assault investigation, considering what injuries may be assault and what injuries may be a car accident...
Sch'dy Cop on Paid Leave After Bizarre Weekend Crash
Oct 18, 2006
...Colonie Police say alcohol was involved, but because it is such a complicated case, it is not clear if it caused the crash, or who was the assaultee or the assaulter... Officer Lawrence already was being investigated by internal affairs... Lawrence and another cop got into a scuffle at Katie O'Byrne's. Police brass would not identify the officers... Now, if Officer Lawrence was driving - and police say they cannot prove that yet - he could be charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury crash, a misdemeanor. And if he did assault his girlfriend's brother - and police cannot prove that, either - he could be charged with felony assault. Sources close to the case say there is a good possibility that no arrests will ever be made...
Schenectady Officer on Paid Leave
10/18/2006 10:16:12 PM
Schenectady police confirm they've put one of their officers, Darren Lawrence, on paid administrative leave...
Sch'dy Cop Back on the Job After Being Suspended
Jan 30, 2007
The Schenectady cop who was suspended after being accused of leaving the scene of a car crash, is back on the job Tuesday. Officer Darren Lawrence was charged with leaving the crash on the Northway back in October, as well as harassment for an alleged fight with his passenger, Mark Viscusi. Lawrence was suspended, without pay - then suspended with pay; and now has returned to full-time. Viscusi says he and Lawrence had been drinking the night before, and that after the crash, Lawrence did not want to call police...
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety murder new york state politics repeat hx]