Police shot pepper projectiles at protesters last week in Saratoga Springs
Aug 05, 2020 6:33 am
Michael Goot reports for the Post Star that the Saratoga Springs Police Department shot pepper projectiles at a group of protesters that they said were blocking traffic on July 30. The incident began with a “Back the Blue” rally in support of law enforcement that was soon met with counter protesters. Protesters from the groups Black Lives Matters and All of Us protested in the street in front of City Hall. Police claim these protesters may have had a gun, and some were wearing bulletproof vests and belts with pepper spray, though YouTube videos of the incident do not show any of that. "We were peacefully protesting and there was no instance where we were putting ourselves or anybody else in danger and they showed up and put us in danger in an immense way,” said protester Tyler Gundrom. “They started firing them at the ground around us, and all of a sudden this white powder started to rise up and after that I remember feeling my throat starting to burn and my eyes started to water.” Saratoga Springs Police Chief Shane Crooks originally told CBS 6 that no tear gas or rubber bullets were used at the demonstration. But on Aug. 4 Crooks said the police used of pepper projectiles on citizens protesting. Bergen County, New Jersey Chief of Police Brian Higgins, who is also a use-of-force expert who is an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said these projectiles can be "extremely dangerous." Victoria Snelgrove died after being shot in the eye with a pepper ball as Boston police sought to clear a crowd following the World Series in 2004. Meanwhile, in Pleasant Valley on July 18 there was a clash between Black Lives Matter protesters, and counter protesters. The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office will release the findings of its investigation into the incident on August 6, with a live webstream through the Dutchess County Legislature's Public Safety Committee.