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Questions Remain Following Death Of Darryl Mount, Jr.

Saratoga Springs City Hall
Lucas Willard

Many questions remain following the death of a 22-year-old man who was critically injured following a police foot-chase in Saratoga Springs last year. 

22-year-old Darryl Mount, Jr. died early Tuesday, eight months after he sustained injuries and fell into a coma after a police foot chase on Labor Day weekend.

The exact facts of what caused the injuries still remain unclear. Police contend Mount had been found at the base of a scaffold, from which he presumably fell after pursuing officers lost sight of the then-21-year old on the chase that began on Caroline Street, a popular bar area.

But a crowd of protesters including Mount’s family and friends continued to seek more information from the city as to what really happened, with some claiming police brutality.

Demanding answers, a protest gathered outside a September a city council meeting. Mount’s aunt, Peggy Pregent, was just one who spoke before the city’s commissioners.

"I believe that police officers did play some sort of part in the accident, and that scares and infuriates me at the same time," said Pregent.

Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen and Police Chief Greg Veitch repeatedly defended the city’s police force, and undertook an internal investigation into the manner.

For the next several months, Mount remained in a coma, and his family continued to call for an independent investigation.

After Mount’s death, Mount’s mother, Patty Jackson, told the Albany Times Union , "I'm alleging somebody is hiding something.”

Chief Veitch released a statement saying:  “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Pastor Willie Bacote of Dyer Phelps AME Zion Church in Saratoga Springs and Missing Link AME Zion Church in Troy said Mount’s death is a devastating blow to the community.

"It's truly heartbreaking and it is troublesome that Saratoga still has not answered the questions, and will not give into an indepenent, outside review to the facts of what happened to Darryl Mount on that particular night," said Bacote. "And it's a devastating blow to us because Darryl will never be able to testify as to what happened that night."

Bacote said he urges the community to continue rallying in support of Mount’s family and demand answers from city officials.

Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said he would not respond to the calls for an independent investigation or accusations right now. 

"I think that at this point in time the appropriate reaction is to offer our sympathy and our prayers to the Mount family, this is a very sad event."

Mathiesen said he is planning an arena for community discussion surrounding the Mount case in the coming weeks.

"We will be setting a date probably in mid-June to discuss the entire incident and probably will hold a press conference at that time to answer everybody's questinos," said Mathiesen.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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