After shooting, Albany Common Councilors press police chief
Albany Common Councilors grilled Police Chief Eric Hawkins this week over encounters with Jordan Young, including the January 24th shooting the chief and mayor conclude was justified.
Wednesday night, Hawkins made a virtual appearance at an Albany Common Council meeting where he fielded questions regarding the 32-year old Young's shooting by police January 24th. 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.
“There's this narrative out there that he was beaten and assaulted. And that is absolutely false," Hawkins said. "The booking area where it was alleged that these acts occurred is under 24/7 surveillance. And the entire process, the entire time that the young man was in our booking area was captured on video, that entire two plus hours that he was there has been thoroughly reviewed. There was no beating, there was no assault. In fact, this young man was given some liberties in that booking area that ordinarily we don't we don't give to people who are under arrest in terms of some of the freedom of movement and things like that. Then his treatment at the hospital was for an abrasion to his face that occurred when he was taken down during the arrest.”
Hawkins also walked councilors through the events surrounding Young's shooting. Both he and Mayor Kathy Sheehan have pledged transparency regarding the incident, but say body cam footage shows an officer was justified in the shooting because Young ignored multiple commands to drop a knife while approaching police.
15th ward councilor Tom Hoey chairs the Public Safety Committee.
“I do appreciate the amount of time he spent, especially with the new council members, explaining how things happened, the sequence of events," said Hoey. "And you know, there will be Monday morning quarterbacking all the time. Nobody wanted to see this happen. It was a tragic event for everybody involved. And even council members. I mean, I was pretty shocked to see in an hour and a half of videos, it takes a lot out of you and to see somebody hurt and their dog they're walking around. It was a tough circumstance.”
7th ward councilor Sergio Adams says what happened to Young was a tragedy and praised Hawkins for his willingness to share information, potentially with the Community Police Review Board.
“We all tried to ask the questions that would help us get a better understanding, Adams said. "And, you know, moving forward, the chief did explain that this investigation was going to be dealt with independently. So independent investigation is going to happen, where APD steps back and doesn't have their hands involved. Also, he mentioned that the CPRB will also, if they decide to, have an investigation .”
Adams says councilors will examine the outcomes of any investigations by outside agencies so they can make a plan going forward and discuss ways of preventing incidents like what happened to Young from happening again. Young remains hospitalized and is likely facing charges.
Hoey says the Young case underscores the need for expansion of mental health services.
“You cannot get a psychiatrist right now in the city of Albany that has an opening, is taking on new patients. So I know that from personal experience, and I think we have a real shortage," Hoey said. "And we need to look at this as a society. How do we deal with people who are going through a mental crisis?This is opening the conversation.”