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Some Albany Common Councilors view body cam footage of police shooting of man with knife

 Police say they responded to a call around 1 a.m. Monday about an apparent home invasion at 117 Morris Street.
Dave Lucas
Police say they responded to a call around 1 a.m. Monday about an apparent home invasion at 117 Morris Street.

Police have begun showing body cam video of the early Monday morning shooting of an Albany man by officers. Some Common Councilors were among the first to have a look.

Police say 32-year-old Jordan Young of Morris Street was shot by police in the wee hours Monday after officers arrived to investigate a 911 call of a home invasion at 117 Morris.

While in the vicinity, officers encountered Young out walking his dog. They attempted to stop and question him. Police say he then sprinted toward them with a knife after holding it to the dog's throat, disregarding commands to stop and drop the weapon.

Three Common Councilors have now seen body cam footage of the incident. The footage has not been released to the public. Tom Hoey, who represents the 15th ward, chairs the Council's Public Safety Committee.

"I was invited to, to watch the video," said Hoey. "Gabriella Romero, who is the councilwoman from that ward was also invited, as was Kelly Kimbrough, who's the former chair of the Public Safety Committee. We went, we looked at the video, I’m really not going to comment too much on it. The investigation is ongoing. And we pushed that we should try to get this released as soon as possible to the CPRB, the Civilian [Community] Police Review Board, and also to have the public be able to look at it. I’m satisfied from what I've seen with the investigation so far, but it's pretty complicated. And it takes time to, you know, tie everything together, because, number one, it has multiple body cams."

Hoey says he and fellow councilors spent close to an hour and a half looking at several different videos from different body cams. He adds the clips were “very telling.”

“I don't want to get into judging and I want the the CPRB to be the ones that's why we appointed them and gave them more power to investigate and release statements about it," said Hoey. "But I think that I guess, you know, I really think that they did the best that they could do under the circumstances.”

Hoey says he watched the footage with "fresh eyes," not having seen nor heard reports of Young's many previous brushes with the law, most recently January 14th.

Albany police spokesman Steve Smith says around 7:50 that night officers responded to a call of a person brandishing a handgun along the 200 block of Ridgefield Street. Smith says police had a description of the individual and a vehicle, stopping Young 15 minutes later. Young locked the doors and refused to exit the vehicle, so a detective broke one of the windows.

"At which point Mr. Young unlocked the door and he was taken out of the driver's seat and placed on the ground, where he continued to resist arrest," said Smith. "He placed his hands under his body and continued to pull his arms away from officers as they tried to place his hands behind his back in order to put him in handcuffs. As it relates to that incident, he was charged with some menacing second, as well as criminal possession of a weapon for the menacing incident that had just occurred 15 minutes earlier on Ridgefield Street. And he was charged with driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest obstruction in some vehicle and traffic citations from the traffic stop.”

Smith says when Young was taken to central booking at South Station, things went from bad to worse.

"At that time, he requested to go to the hospital for pain and abrasion to his face that was likely sustained as a result of Mr. Young resisting arrest at the traffic stop where he refused to get out of the car," said Smith. "And he was transported to Albany Medical Center hospital, again, in accordance with our policies and procedures. He was treated at Albany Medical Center hospital and subsequently returned to South Station and charged appropriately. He was also charged with obstruction actually because he refused to have his photographs and fingerprints taken at that time.”

Young’s family claims his injuries were inflicted during a police beating. Investigators will likely look at bodycam video from January 14th as well.

Hoey is confident that the release of police documentation along with the videos, will dispel any question of inappropriate actions by officers.

“Everything has been documented," Hoey said. "Not all the officers have been interviewed yet. So this is a process that does take time. But, you know, from it's just, walking out of it, it's a tragedy. Not only has this young man been injured, but also our police people. You know, this was traumatic what happened and, you know, the video will show a lot, and one of the comments I make, ‘I am so happy that we do equip our officers with body cams, because there's no question what happened. It's right there and it's recorded.’”

Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Police Chief Eric Hawkins have pledged transparency. The Albany County District Attorney and state Attorney General have been notified about the incident.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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