police brutality | WAMC

police brutality

Jeffrey Murphy
Jesse King / WAMC

As activists and lawmakers call for police reforms across the country, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association came out with its own list of priorities Wednesday. 

8:46 Poster
Facebook: Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York

Seven Capital Region theatre troupes will come together Tuesday night in a collective response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Ijeoma Oluo at UAlbany Sept 2019
Jackie Orchard

Ijeoma Oluo is a writer and speaker whose work on race has been featured in The Guardian, New York magazine, xoJane, Jezebel, and more. She is also an editor-at-large at The Establishment, and Seattle magazine named her "one of the most influential people" in Seattle.

In "So You Want to Talk About Race," Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking June 5, 2020.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the video of an elderly white man in Buffalo knocked down by police and left to bleed on the sidewalk made him “sick to his stomach." The Democrat is calling for the Erie County District Attorney to investigate criminal charges for the officers involved. 

A black man holding a mic with a face mask and an NAACP sign stands in a sun-dappled grassy park surrounded by people
Josh Landes / WAMC

The president of the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP says he doesn’t buy concerns that violent agitators will infiltrate local anti-policy brutality protests.

Two men hold signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "Let Them Breathe" in front of a statue
Josh Landes / WAMC

Days after a peaceful protest drew hundreds, a few anti-police brutality protesters continue to demonstrate in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

6/3/20 Panel

Jun 3, 2020

     The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, President of the Albany branch of NAACP Debora Brown-Johnson, Dean of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Cybersecurity at the University at Albany Robert Griffin, and Peabody and Emmy Award winning journalist Linda Ellerbee.

Several people who clashed with police Tuesday morning early this morning were arrested after confrontation on Quail and West streets. Police say they were hurling rocks and bricks at police officers. The clash occurred shortly after midnight and followed a standoff around the city's public safety building on Henry Johnson Boulevard.

All of this came after a peaceful show of civil disobedience in the streets of Albany throughout the day on Monday. Albany police chief Eric Hawkins met yesterday with protesters and told them he takes reports of police brutality very seriously. We are joined by the Chief of Police for the city of Albany Eric Hawkins.

A black man with a face mask on, a hat, and an NAACP sign kneels in a sun-dappled grassy park surrounded by other masked people
Josh Landes / WAMC

Berkshire County residents and public officials participated in the international weekend of protest against police brutality.

5/29/20 Panel

May 29, 2020

    The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, CUNY and author of "Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality" Clarence Taylor, Assistant Professor at Albany Law School Ciji Dodds, and Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at UAlbany and an acclaimed mystery novelist Frankie Bailey.

photo of Burlington Police logo on a podium
Photo - Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont City Councilors plan to introduce resolutions at their meeting next week calling for a review of the city police department’s use-of-force policy.  The move comes after two lawsuits claiming excessive force were filed and a man died following a third controversial incident.


Fallout continues in the city of Albany after police body camera video of a March police-civilian confrontation was released. With one officer arrested on felony assault charges, a rally is being planned for next weekend.

Clarence Taylor is Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, CUNY, and author of "The Black Churches of Brooklyn," "Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools," "Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century," and "Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers Union."

His new book, "Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City," he examines the explosive history of police brutality in New York City and the black community’s long struggle to resist it. Taylor brings this story to life by exploring the institutions and the people that waged campaigns to end the mistreatment of people of color at the hands of the police, including the black church, the black press, black communists and civil rights activists.

Ranging from the 1940s to the mayoralty of Bill de Blasio, Taylor describes the significant strides made in curbing police power in New York City, describing the grassroots street campaigns as well as the accomplishments achieved in the political arena and in the city’s courtrooms.

On July 17, 2014, a black man named Eric Garner died on a sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes.

In his new book, “I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,” journalist Matt Taibbi writes about Garner's life, the police practices that contributed to his death and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brendan Cox
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

An Albany police officer has been arrested after he was caught on camera body-slamming a 15-year-old girl at a rehab facility.

Keith Strudler: Summer Basketball

Jul 13, 2016

This week my two boys, age 6 and 8, started summer league outdoor basketball in my town of Beacon. For the uninitiated, summer ball is a particular basketball pleasure, an offseason gathering for those who truly love the sport. Its lacks the structure and perhaps urgency of winter ball, the sport’s natural regular season. It’s outdoors, instructional, and really for people that see basketball as not simply a sport on the rotation, but a year round pursuit.

  All American Boys is a new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

In the book, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

New York's district attorneys say Gov. Andrew Cuomo's appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police is "gravely flawed."

Karen DeWitt

The state legislature’s Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus is reacting to events in Baltimore and is calling for swift action on a package of criminal justice reforms that have been stalled in the State Senate.

The caucus members say they’ve grown weary of incidents where African Americans die after encounters with police. Assemblyman Michaela Blake represents portions of the Bronx.

“Baltimore is happening in the Bronx, “ Blake said. “It can happen anywhere.”

Blake says the young people involved in the riots are not thugs or criminals.

3/27/15 Panel

Mar 27, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Kingston Freeman Publisher Emeritus and SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Scheduled topics include: Harry Reid won't seek re-election; Germanwings co-pilot update; police brutality in Detroit; Egypt to Yemen; NYC Building Collapse; Downton Abbey to end.

  The Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury outcomes launched protests from coast to coast.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that federal reforms are a possibility.


A man who spent three years in prison for murder before he was found not guilty of the charge at a second trial filed a lawsuit today accusing police in Springfield, Massachusetts of violating his civil rights.

A wrongful conviction lawsuit against two Springfield police detectives and the City of Springfield was filed by Charles Wilhite. It alleges the police officers caused his wrongful conviction by fabricating evidence and intimidating witnesses, according to Wilhite’s attorney, Howard Friedman.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

Officials in Saratoga Springs are defending their actions after a man was critically injured following a police chase early Saturday morning. Now, the Spa City is facing protests and claims of police brutality.

According to police reports, at 3:02 Saturday morning, police in Saratoga Springs responded to reported disturbance on Caroline Street, a sometimes rowdy area known for several busy bars that remain open in the early morning hours.


Community activists in Springfield Massachusetts say a 25 year old Middletown Connecticut man who went on trial Monday for assaulting police is actually a victim of police brutality.

Ellen Graves and other members of a group called the Community Coaltion for Justice  rallied outside the courthouse in defense of  Michael Ververis who is facing felony charges stemming from a disturbance more than 2 years ago at closing time in the city’s entertainment district.

Ex-cop Sent To Jail For Flashlight Assault

Mar 29, 2012
Arise for Social Justice

     A former Springfield Massachusetts police officer will serve time behind bars for pummeling a man on the face with a flashlight after a traffic stop.  The brutal assault was recorded by a passerby and the video posted to the internet, and was key evidence at the trial.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill was at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing in Chicopee District Court.