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Some cities get murals, but activists want police reform

Jul 15, 2020 6:33 am
News10 in Albany reports that the Rensselaer County Legislature voted 16 to 3 July 14 against a resolution in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The resolution called for ending police brutality and excessive force and for prompt advocacy from members of every level of government. Republicans, who control the Rensselaer legislature, demanded changes from an earlier version, but apparently were still not happy with the results. “It was one of the most divisive, hateful pieces of legislation I have seen,” Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo said. Meanwhile, Hudson and Schenectady both have painted the phrase "Black Lives Matter" on prominent city streets, while Village of Catskill officials refused to allow the three words on their Main Street. Activists are now talking beyond symbols. “That imagery is super important, but what else are we going to do besides that?” said Shawn Young, the co-founder of All of Us, the group leading protests in Schenectady. “Painting the street isn’t actually what we’re asking for; what we’re asking for is real structural change.” His group led a day-long protest July 13 that angered Police Chief Eric Clifford. He Tweeted on July 13, “I have shown this community my willingness to discuss reforms, have made efforts to engage in conversations and remained patient during a month of peaceful protests. That all ends tonight. No more disorder in the city.” Clifford did previously get involved with symbols with the protesters. Recently in Schenectady police arrested Yugeshwar Gaindarrpersaaud, with an officer recorded using his knee on his neck to restrain him. In Columbia County, the Register Star reports that police did not arrest a still unnamed couple who brandished a gun at protesters on Rothermel Lane in Kinderhook on July 11. About 40 minutes after the incident, the couple left their home with police, though they were not arrested. State police did not release any other information about the incident. They are also tight-lipped about what happened at a party in Columbia County July 4 and 5, where 31-year-old local mechanic Harold Handy was severely beaten in the presence of at least one Columbia County Sheriff Deputy, Kelly Briscoe Rosenstrach.
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