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Capital Region News

Albany's Auditor, Councilors Criticize Police For "Overly Aggressive" Removal Of Protestors

Albany Police removed protestors from outside South Station April 22, 2021.
Lucas Willard
/
WAMC
Albany Police removed protestors from outside South Station April 22, 2021.

Albany’s auditor and several members of the common council are criticizing the police department’s removal of protestors who had been camping outside of South Station for nearly a week. Democratic Auditor Dorcey Applyrs and six councilors called the operation Thursday afternoon “disheartening and overly aggressive.” In a joint statement Friday, they say Albany Police should be exercising extra caution to de-escalate matters and utilize trusted voices to address concerns of injustice and police brutality. Albany Police arrested several people Thursday when officers cleared demonstrators from Arch Street — as well as two people involved in an earlier clash with police there April 14.

“This event has served to fuel tension and further damaged the relationship between our police department and segments of our community,” the statement said.

Common Councilors Sonia Frederick, Joyce Love, Jahmel Robinson, Judy Doesschate, Owusu Anane and Alfredo Balarin signed the statement.

At a late-night press briefing Thursday, Police Chief Eric Hawkins said the decision to clear the encampment wasn’t easy, but maintained the process was mostly peaceful and necessary to ensure public safety.  

The tense scene Thursday broke out just after 3 p.m. when Chief Hawkins tweeted it was time for demonstrators to go after six days. A few minutes later, police starting moving through the camp.

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