Protesters and residents face tear gas in Albany, militia in Troy, and online threats in Cobleskill
Jun 17, 2020 6:33 am
While there have been many protests locally and nationally, and some police reforms announced in New York, there are still many problems in the Hudson Valley. On June 16 in Albany there was another protest, this one over the arrest of a man and woman brutalized two weeks ago by Albany Police after recording them arresting someone else. WTEN reported that Kimani Addison and Desiree Shuman had an appearance ticket for Albany City Court June 16, even after Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the charges against the couple were dropped. Addison was charged with inciting a riot and resisting arrest, and Shuman says she was told her charges were lost in the system. Addison's video was shared around the Capital Region and the country, embarrassing Sheehan and Albany. Sheehan and Albany are also getting criticized for using military-grade tear gas on their own citizens, and people who live near the protests say the tear gas seeped into their homes. Albany Proper talked to many Albany residents about the issue. Glynnis Marshall , 63-year-old was watching a movie in her living room a few weeks back when the tear gas arrived, and she got a scratchy throat and burning eyes. “There oughta be a law against it,” she said. “I’m in my house and I got gassed.” During an online forum June 12, Sheehan would not say whether she would use tear gas on Albany residents again but that, “we have to be cognizant of the use of tear gas” and “we let people down.” Police Chief Eric Hawkins would only say, “our officers did a great job.” People protesting the police locally may worry about retaliation from the police, or from others. On June 16, one of the men who showed up to disrupt the June 7 Troy Rally for Black Lives was arraigned in City Court on 19 weapons counts that include having two assault-style AR-15 rifles with live ammunition and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his truck. The Times Union reported that the man was among seven other men wearing military-style body armor and bullet proof vests who were stopped by Troy police at the protest 11,000 attended. District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly's office said, “a tactical manual tying the group to the New England Minutemen militia group” was found in one of their vehicles. In Cobleskill in Schoharie County on June 6 a protest was held in a secluded spot, rescheduled from two days before after online threats. Among the comments online, reported by The River Newsroom: "“CHURCHES steeple on main street and at the park have the best sniper nest view. Just saying,” and “Dam Straight my friend lock n load, I guess we have to defend ourselves.” There was also more symbolic action this week: The Albany Common Council voted to rename Livingston Park in West Hill, as Black Lives Matter Park. Poughkeepsie’s Italian Center covered its statue of Christopher Columbus but said would display it again after moving to a new location. Schenectady is figuring out where to put a "Black Lives Matter" downtown street mural. And more protests are scheduled. On June 17 there are three at 4:30 p.m.: at the Town Hall in Ghent; at the Depot Square in Chatham; and at the Academy Green in Kingston. Then this weekend there are many Junteenth protests and events June 19 and 20. On Friday, there are demonstrations in Albany, North Rockland, Croton, Guilderland, Newburgh, Troy, and Beacon. Saturday protesters will walk on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge from both the Catskill and Hudson sides at 4 p.m. There are other events June 20 in Chatham, Potsdam, Highland, and Putnam County.