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Albany Police Move To Discipline 8 Officers For First Street Incident

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins speaks with reporters Tuesday.
Dave Lucas

The Albany Police Department has moved to discipline officers over an incident on First Street in March 2019. Chief Eric Hawkins told WAMC Thursday the department has issued notices of discipline to eight officers. 

Three of the notices recommend termination from the force. The other five range from counseling, training to loss of leave time.

Video from the incident shows officers kicking in a door at a house party on First Street on March 16. In the days after the incident involving a dozen officers, city leaders said that area of First Street had a history of police calls. 

"We learned that we in the police department don't have to solve those sorts of quality of life issues all by ourselves," Hawkins said Thursday. "That we can take a more collaborative approach to those issues. Reaching out to our codes department, court counsel, planning, or using our elected officials or other members of the community as intermediaries in terms of resolving those sorts of things. What we've done is strengthen our commitment to a more holistic approach to addressing those sorts of issues and we're confident that going forward we'll have more positive outcomes with those sorts of incidents." 

Hawkins says some Albany officers were also exonerated of wrongdoing by an "impartial and fair" investigation. 

"It shows that we do have a willingness and a desire to engage, build and strengthen relations in this community," said Hawkins.

Officer Luke Deer was arrested and charged with assault for his role in the First Street incident. Chief Hawkins says he is still a member of the Albany Police Department. 

The chief says the entire incident is still under review by the Albany County District Attorney’s office.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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