State police reopen case against Cohoes Mayor Morse

September 17, 2018 01:03 PM

The New York State Police tell NewsChannel 13 they have reopened their investigation of Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse.

Morse said on Friday that state police cleared him from allegations of abuse that rose through a 911 call last November. However, a state police spokesman now says the case is active once again.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the following statement on Sunday:

"The frightening and egregious evidence of domestic violence against Mayor Morse, as documented in recent media reports, cannot be ignored. Given the documented evidence presented in these reports, it is clear he cannot continue to serve and must resign. The New York State Police have reopened their investigation based on new reported evidence."

The state Democratic Committee chair also said Morse "is unfit to serve."

This comes after a series of bombshell reports from the Times Union. It went from a 911 call back in November, that all we kept hearing was that it was an ongoing investigation. That's until Mayor Morse recently met with his estranged wife in a Colonie restaurant.

"This is our responsibility. This is the responsibility of the Common Council and the citizens of Cohoes to say enough is enough," said Cohoes City Councilman Randy Koniowka.

He is one of the most outspoken critics of Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse. He has called for him to step down ever since the report of possible abuse in the Morse household last fall, after Morse's wife called 911. It became a state police case that was quelled for months. However, it was clear the Morse marriage of 19 years was over. They were separated.

During the past 10 months, Morse has become the spokesperson for his city's police department, invoking the commissioner of public safety title. He has also cut ribbons and held news conferences about speed limits on 787 and development in the city. However, he has not talked about the case hanging over his head.

Then, late last week, Morse met with his estranged wife at a Denny's on Wolf Road in Colonie. The Times Union cites sources that say they argued about separation agreements and it escalated -- even physically. She says he spit at her. She would eventually report that incident from the parking lot of the restaurant to Colonie Police -- instead of calling State Police investigators that had been working on her case.

Colonie Police confirm they took statements from both Mrs. Morse and from the Mayor over the weekend, but no charges have been filed.

Morse has been defending himself, saying in a tweet:

Now that the state leaders have suddenly shown an interest in this case in Albany County, it has risen to higher levels of scrutiny.

Koniowka says the Cohoes City Council has no legal authority to remove the mayor, but they have to do something.

"You have an individual that is, in fact, ruling like a tyrant. He's been allowed to rule like a tyrant – and that needs to end," said Koniowka.


WNYT Staff

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