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Albany Police chief disputes some claims by activists about Jan. 24 shooting of man with knife

Tatiana Conley, Dr. Alice Green, Xavier Young, Adriana Edmonds.
Dave Lucas
Tatiana Conley, Dr. Alice Green, Xavier Young, Adriana Edmonds.

The rift is growing between the Albany Police Department and the Center For Law and Justice over the police shooting of Jordan Young early on January 24th.

Wednesday night, Police Chief Eric Hawkins made a virtual appearance at an Albany Common Council meeting where he fielded questions regarding Young's shooting last week. Hawkins also briefed councilors on a previous arrest January 14th where officers broke the window of Young's car when he did not comply with their commands.

"We've reviewed the body worn camera of the incident as well as a 9-1-1 call that was placed to the Albany Police Department's communications division, and after the call for that, the relative made regarding Mr. Young pointing a handgun at her, officers, Albany police detectives, spotted the vehicle, a vehicle with Mr. Young in it, and the traffic stop was conducted," said Hawkins. "He refused to get out of the car. He locked his doors. The detectives broke the window, in order to get the get him to unlock the door. He was taken out of the car. He resisted arrest, he was placed on his stomach and he was handcuffed. A lighter that resembled a handgun was recovered."

Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Alice Green held a press conference Thursday morning. Representing the Young family, she had maintained from the beginning that Young was holding a lighter, not a gun.

Green also contests much of what police have released about Young’s shooting and the events preceding it.

Young's brother Xavier disputed the police claim that they were dispatched to the family home on Morris Street following a 9-1-1 call.

"There was never no home invasion," Young said.

He admitted to being the person "running across rooftops" in the police report.

"That was, that was me because I was scared. I didn't know what was going on," said Young. "And, you know, I just seen guns coming through the door with lights, and I just didn't know who it was. And I'm about to get in the shower. So I'm just like, what in the world is going on?"

Young said police insinuated he made the 9-1-1 call, which he denies.

Green says Jordan Young, out walking a dog, was on his cell phone talking to his 18-year-old niece Adriana Edmonds when police approached. Edmonds was on the line when police opened fire.

"He told me to call him an ambulance and telling me that he wasn't gonna make it," Edmonds said. "And then they hung up. And when I tried to call him back, and nobody answered."

Police body camera footage released last week shows police repeatedly telling the 32-year-old Jordan to drop his knife, and Jordan approaching officers.

The family says Young, a father of two with a history of mental illness, may have reacted to officers’ attempts to stop and question him out of fear, after having been beaten during the January 14 incident, a beating Hawkins, citing police video, says never happened.

Green wants to know why police approached Jordan Young 10 days later.

"That's the important thing for the police, they set up the crisis," Green said. "And then once you set up a crisis situation like that, you know, things happen. And they were not prepared to deal with it."

Xavier Young says he was handcuffed, taken into police custody, and not told for several hours that his brother had been shot.

Young's wife Tatiana Conley says she is the only family member allowed to visit him in the hospital. She claims the family was never notified about the shooting.

"I didn't even get a call about what happened," Conley said. "I had to find out from an article at 6 o'clock in the morning that I had to put the pieces together with, there was no name released. So I didn't even know if it was fully him. The hospital was of no help. The police was of no help, and no one called me. So I literally did not know where he was what happened anything. I had to read this article, and just pray to God that it wasn't him. And it wind up being him."

Hawkins told common councilors a different story.

"In fact, within hours of the officer involved shooting, you know, members of the Albany Police Department notified Mr. Young's father, they also notified a niece and his partner and also a brother," said Hawkins. "We're also notified and also in even, the members of the police department even with over and beyond, and even transported a member of Mr. Young's family to the hospital in order to see Mr. Young and since then, there, there have been arrangements to have family members to have regular visits with Mr. Young as he recovers."

Conley says Young has had seven surgeries so far. He has yet to be charged by police. Chief Hawkins and Mayor Kathy Sheehan both say body camera footage shows the shooting was justified.

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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