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Poughkeepsie protest mourns Maurice Gordon

Jun 23, 2020 6:33 am
Protests continue almost every day in the Hudson Valley, and across the country, in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. But Floyd's death is not always the focus. The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that on June 22 a demonstration was held in in that city with about 200 people marching for Maurice Gordon. He was an unarmed African American from Poughkeepsie killed by New Jersey police at a traffic stop May 23. Gordon's friend Isaiah Lindsey wants the New Jersey Attorney General's Office to, "try this case fairly and present the evidence to the grand jury accurately, so that we can get an indictment to prosecute Sgt. Randall Wetzel." His sister Yanique Gordon said, "even though he isn't here, I am Maurice Gordon, and I am his voice and we are all his voice. It's up to us to make the changes so that this won't continue and another life will not be taken by officers who see fit to abuse their positions." There are also plenty of local examples of white politicians sounding tone deaf at local demonstrations. Coeymans Town Supervisor George McHugh attended a Ravena protest last weekend. “I am proud of our community. I am proud that we are doing this kind of stuff instead of the rioting that is going on in other cities,” McHugh said. “This is what should be going on — this is informative, this is educational, this isn’t destructive. This doesn’t dull the message, it defines the message.” There were only a few riots anywhere in the country, and have not been any for several weeks. The local newspaper, the Register-Star, has given the protests little coverage, but today is running a large story quoting many New York City police officers claiming the protests are "extremely violent." More accurately, protesters nationally have been mostly peaceful, while police in Columbus, Ohio; New York City; Compton; and other cities continue to use excessive force and military weapons on American citizens. The protests are tackling other topics too. On June 22 about 20 people gathered in front of the Albany City Hall demanding elected officials extend the eviction moratorium and cancel rent. "We are here because evictions are violence in the midst of a pandemic," said Rev. Joe Paparone, a lead organizer of the Labor-Religion Coalition. "People are about to be evicted from their home, dragged out of their homes for their inability to pay when we've seen absolute record numbers on employment cases, we have record numbers of people who are unable to continue to pay their rent." More protests are scheduled in the Hudson Valley. Demonstrations are scheduled in Chatham, Kingston, and Ghent at 4:30 p.m. June 24. There are also Pride-related protests and marches on June 27 in Albany and Schenectady, and June 28 in Newburgh. A large protest is set for Woodstock on Sunday, and there are online rumors that white supremacists will show up, like they have recently at events in Schoharie County and Troy.