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NAACP's Pope sizes up police reform movement

Jun 25, 2020 6:33 am
The Altamont Enterprise speaks with Anne Pope, 82, the director of the northeast region of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People about the pace of police reform in the wake of protests nationally and throughout the Capital Region, Hudson Valley, and the Catskills. There are some parallels to marches in the Civil Rights era, "but the difference is this is ongoing. For instance, if we protested or marched back in the day, it would have been a one-day rally. It had a beginning and an end. With this, there’s a beginning, but I don’t see an end. And I like this,” Pope said. “I like that there are people who have time to give towards marching. And I am excited that they are committed to making a difference, and I see that they are making a difference. They’re able to stay with it and produce some results that are good.” Nationally on June 24 there was little progress on police reform as Senate Democrats blocked the Republican reform bill from advancing on the Senate floor. The bill did not mandate much, but made suggestions and studies for police departments. In the Town of Ulster, board members are still deciding if they will assign a police officer to the middle school next fall, the Daily Freeman reports. “It’s a liability limitation discussion,” Ulster Town Supervisor James Quigley said of the ongoing talks. “It’s open season on cops, and what my concerns are is we’re putting a police officer into an environment where young people don’t think about their actions. They may not necessarily think about doing something stupid that results in certain other ... consequential actions, and we just need to have a discussion about that.” There has been a school resource officer from the Town of Ulster Police Department at the Miller school since at least 2008. The Daily Freeman reports that the school resource officer's duties include, "conflict mediation, safety instruction, prevention of dangerous situations, and working with community agencies that offer mental health assistance and drug treatment." More and more it seems like folks protesting school resource officers, and other police-related issues, aren't in much danger from catching coronavirus. Politico reports that New York City has not seen any new outbreaks after several weeks of protests. “This is more than two weeks since the peak of the protests, and the incubation period of the virus is generally seven days,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Francisco. “I’m so psyched that all those fears were not realized.” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association agreed, and said, “I understand that my risk of driving while black, running while black — pick a saying — is extraordinarily high. I believe people are making risk-based decisions” by attending protests. This weekend there is a "Rally for Black Lives" protest at 5 p.m. June 26 in Guilderland. On June 27 there are protests at noon (in Putnam County), 1 p.m. in Monticello, 2 p.m. in Schenectady and Albany, and 4 p.m. in Rosendale. On June 28 there are actions at 11 a.m. in Newburgh; 1 p.m. in Woodstock, Rensselaer, and Fort Edward; and 4 p.m. in Ellenville.
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