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Schenectady NAACP Calling For "Open Conversation" About Mistrust In Policing

Protesters demonstrate outside the back gate of the Schenectady Police Department on July 6th
Lucas Willard
Protesters demonstrate outside the back gate of the Schenectady Police Department on July 6th

Members of the Schenectady chapter of the NAACP are scheduled to hold a press conference at noon Saturday after a controversial arrest in the Electric City earlier in the week.

Schenectady NAACP President Dr. Odo Butler says the organization will call for community conversation after a city officer on Monday appeared on video to place his knee on a man’s neck and head during an arrest.

“For Schenectady, what we need to do is we need to have… bring in All of Us and Clergy Against Hate and other organizations, as well as NAACP, and have a constructive, open conversation about distrust and how policing works in Schenectady,” said Butler. 

Mayor Gary McCarthy had signed an executive order on June 10th that included a ban on police use of choke and knee-to-neck holds.

More police policy changes were announced Thursday, including the banning of knee to head holds and a restriction on warrantless arrests. The changes came after members of the NAACP and the city’s Civilian Police Review Board met with Police Chief Eric Clifford, Mayor McCarthy, and other city leaders on Wednesday.  

McCarthy said he met with Schenectady Clergy Against Hate on Friday in what he called a “first in a series of productive conversations” about policing and racial injustice.

The Democratic Mayor has referred to Chief Clifford and Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens for any potential disciplinary actions.

Demonstrators plan to protest outside city hall on Monday.

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