NYCLU labels Saratoga PD 'racist organization'
Wendy Liberatore is reporting for the Times Union that Melanie Trimble, the regional director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, on Sept. 20, said her organization is monitoring the activities of the Saratoga city police, which she accused of acting as a "racist organization." On the day before four more Black Lives Matter activists awaited arraignment in city court, Trimble said the police are “clearly targeting the minority community” with tactics that are “escalating problems.” Trimble said the arrests of 11 people earlier this month in connection with a July 14 rally show the police are acting in an “over-the-top” manner to punish activists who blocked and stalled traffic on Broadway. The activists were either pulled off the street outside City Hall during a protest or pulled over while in their cars and taken into custody. They were held in jail for hours, one overnight, with some arraigned in shackles. The Times Union's efforts to speak with Saratoga Springs Police Chief Shane Crooks and Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton about the NYCLU’s assertions were unsuccessful. However, Lt. Robert Jillson, spokesman for the police, said the chief was focused on balancing public safety and civil rights after a man called 911 when he was unable to move his car for several minutes while the protesters were in the street. Trimble argues the arrests were especially troubling in light of Assistant Police Chief John Catone’s comments in June when he said he would “pull out every single connection my family has made over the last 130 years and I will stop your narrative” that the city is hateful and the police department is racist. Trimble said the actions of the police are scaring people. "...No other protests, marches or rallies that have gone on in any other political fields, only when it is Black Lives Matter, do police issue warrants and make arrests,” she said. Read the full story in the Times Union.