'This Is Our George Floyd': March And Vigil Held For Darryl Mount Jr.
A march and candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening in Saratoga Springs for a young man who died several months after a police encounter eight years ago.
“Shine a light!”
In the early morning hours of August 31st, 2013 Darryl Mount Jr., a biracial man, was involved a police foot chase in downtown Saratoga Springs after police claimed he shoved his girlfriend against a wall.
During the chase, police claimed to have lost sight of Mount, who was said to have run into an alley and construction site. Mount was found unconscious and seriously injured. At the time, police said they believed Mount fell off scaffolding. Others and Mount’s family have claimed police brutality. Mount was left in a coma and died nine months later at age 22. His family has filed a wrongful death suit against the city while for years the city, citing the lawsuit, has remained quiet and denied any wrongdoing on behalf of police. In 2018, it was revealed the city’s former police chief Greg Veitch testified he misled a reporter about the status of an internal investigation into police misconduct.
“Darryl Mount is our George Floyd,” said Figuereo.
Lexis Figuereo of Saratoga Black Lives Matter was one of the organizers of Tuesday’s march and vigil. He said Mount’s case inspired him to organize last year.
“This all started because last year when I went to my first protest as a protester, police officers decided to laugh at me and ask me, ‘Why did Darryl run?’ instead of saying, you know, ‘Sorry to hear that Darryl passed away, we didn’t do anything wrong.’ And that’s when I decided we gotta fight and we gotta let this be known,” said Figuereo.
Demonstrators wore matching yellow t-shirts that read “Shine a Light for Darryl.” This was the second year of the march and vigil organized by regional activists.
Some - like Skidmore College seniors Mira Kaufmann-Rosengarten and Abby MacDonald – said they hadn’t heard of Mount’s case until last year when racial justice protests raised the profile of the incident.
“And it was, like, on social media, people were sharing posts about it. And then we talked about, kind of, like why that was, that, like, it was never talked about at Skidmore,” said. Kaufmann-Rosengarten.
“Yeah, we didn’t hear about it when first came onto campus at all,” said MacDonald.
The event included speakers, food, and a mural of Mount painted by Saratoga Springs artist Kim Harris.
“I don’t think that I knew Darryl personally, but it also hit close to home because it could have easily been me,” said Harris.
A march brought demonstrators up both sides of Broadway to City Hall. Rev. Michael Bell of Dyer-Phelps AME Zion Church led the crowd in a song.
“I just hear justice in the air!”
After the electric candles were lit, the crowd walked silently to Putnam Alley, where Mount was injured eight years ago.
There, Saratoga Black Lives Matter organizer Chandler Hickenbottom repeated the group’s demands for a full investigation into Mount’s case.
“Every person that failed Darryl should be slapped with a subpoena, should be in jail, should have no benefits. They should not be going home to see their family every single night. Darryl does not. Darryl has to shine a light on us every damn day, has to look down on us every damn day, while his mother cries for eight years for justice and has gotten nothing,” said Hickenbottom.
Back at Congress Park, where the rally began, some of Mount’s family members and close friends spoke to WAMC.
“Very nice thing that was done for him and he deserves it, deserves justice for his death that was unnecessary.”
Jesse Chamberlain called the event emotional.
“They’re covering a lot up. And I know it’s the truth,” said Chamberlain.