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As New York police story goes viral, reform is slow locally

Sep 04, 2020 6:33 am
The latest national outrage about police treatment of a Black American comes from New York. Two days after The Appeal revealed a Rochester police body camera video of an incident from March when Daniel Prude was complying with police when they knelt on his back and pushed his face to the ground, stopping his breathing. A week after the incident he was dead. “That was a lynching,” Joe Prude told The Appeal. “That was cold-blooded murder. … My brother was a loving individual. He was a likeable guy and a damn good brother. He made people laugh. He brought joy to people. He didn’t deserve what happened to him.” As that story goes viral, New York State Police have reopened their investigation of off-duty Cohoes police officer Sean McKown’s firing of his service pistol in Essex County and his claims that a Black male shot at him first, the Times Union reports. The District Attorney originally said there was not enough evidence to indict McKown, who has since retired. But after a Times Union story highlighted many incongruities in McKown's story, it is now getting a second look. Meanwhile, in Hudson, police reform has gone slowly, with a union contract blocking any shrinkage Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson might want. Apparently, Johnson is also battling gossip. "I want to take a short moment to clarify a falsified Executive Order that is going around," Johnson wrote on Facebook Sept. 3. "We are working well with the Hudson Police Department on reforms. Our Reconciliation committee is preparing next steps to advise me of what our force will look like in the future. Better for the community and better for officers. I’ve had no contact with the county Sheriffs office but would love to join the county’s police reform committee. We stand with our officers but at the same time realize that we have a system that needs change."
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