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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:40 p

"Demonstrators rally outside court for couple arrested while recording police"

Steve Hughes, Albany, New York Times Union

Updated: June 17, 2020 2:41 p.m.

ALBANY — Kimani Addison and Desiree Shuman, the local couple arrested after they used their phones to record the arrest of another man two weeks ago, went to City Court Tuesday expecting to have the charges against them formally dropped.

But Addison's court date was postpone and Shuman's case isn't even in the court's records system.

Neither knew about the status of their case before they headed to court as instructed after their June 2 arrests.

Addison said he was frustrated no one had let him know his court date was moved and questioned what happened to the charges against Shuman.

"Let's figure out what this due process of law really means," he said after he left the courthouse.

According to court documents reviewed by the Times Union, the police department never filed paperwork with the court system to charge Shuman.

In the paperwork filed against Addison accusing him of inciting a riot, the arresting officer, Det. Michael Fargione, said Addison screamed, "That's why we need to revolt like last night."

The Times Union reviewed three videos of the incident and in none of them was Addison heard saying that phrase.

Instead, after Fargione told Addison to shut his mouth, Addison repeatedly yelled at him, "I can say what I want."

Judge Joshua Farrell also wrote a letter to Albany police Chief Eric Hawkins telling him that in his June 9 letter to the court requesting that it drop all charges against the two, he didn't indicate that he provided Addison or Shuman with a copy, which meant the court couldn't consider his request.

Addison's court date was moved to July 13.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the court system isn't doing arraignments for people who aren't in custody.

Dozens of couple's supporters used the court appearances as a reason to rally against police brutality and misconduct with over 60 people gathering to demonstrate outside the Morton Avenue courthouse Tuesday morning.

"It's early but we're all out here and that shows we're not going to stop until we get justice," said Legacy Casanova, a Schenectady organizer who joined the protest.

Once Addison and Shuman emerged from court, demonstrators marched to the office of Albany County District Attorney David Soares, escorted by city police vehicles.

Outside Soares' office, demonstrators chanted, "David, come outside," and promised that the demonstrations and protests would continue until they saw substantive changes, including charging the officers involved in Addison's and Shuman's arrest.

The group then marched back to the courthouse for a prayer before breaking up.

Albany police said Tuesday an internal review of the incident is still ongoing.

Addison and Shuman were arrested shortly after they began recording the arrest of another man near the intersection of South Pearl and Arch streets.

The incident took place days after several rallies - including two that featured clashes between police and protesters - were held in Albany to call for police reforms and an end to police brutality after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Police told Addison he was too close to the officers who were making the arrest.

Addison said he initially backed up several feet to meet a detective's demands but eventually objected when the detective kept insisting he move even further away.

Addison and the detective exchanged words before the detective and several other officers grabbed Addison and arrested him.

Police accused Addison of inciting a riot and resisting arrest.

He says he was simply trying to exercise his rights by recording an arrest during a time fraught with tension over police brutality and used profanity in frustration.

Before he was taken into custody, Addison said he was punched by an officer and shocked with a Taser.

The incident occurred near the police department's South Station where police and protesters clashed on May 30.

Shuman was also accused of resisting arrest.

As videos of the arrest surfaced, Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she was troubled by the behavior of police and the city announced the charges would be dropped.

The case was referred to the police department’s Office of Professional Standards.

“The video footage does not appear to depict efforts by police to de-escalate a situation, nor it does it depict the sensitivity I expect from all city employees in this moment and every day,” she said.

Steve is the Times Union's morning cop reporter. He's previously reported for papers in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Utica and Cortland. Originally from Syracuse, he's a 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo.

Reach him at 518-454-5438 ... 343291.php

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:40 p

"Hawkins: Small group responsible for Albany violence - Police chief says Thursday that they know who perpetrators are"

Steve Hughes. Albany, New York Times Union

June 25, 2020 | Updated: June 26, 2020 8:40 a.m.

ALBANY —A small group of violent criminals took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on law enforcement to unleash an unprecedented level of gun violence in Albany, Police Chief Eric Hawkins said Thursday.

"We had three months where we were not able to operate as we usually would and it wasn't anyone's fault."

"It simply was not safe to operate as usual," Hawkins told reporters at police headquarters during a news conference with Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

"So we had a number of individuals in this community who seized an opportunity to engage in this sort of violence and we have identified them."

Sheehan and Hawkins spoke after five people were shot, two fatally, on Wednesday.

An elderly woman was in critical conditions after being struck in the neck in a drive-by shooting on Quail Street.

A man was also injured in that shooting and a 16-year-old was injured in a separate shooting on Clinton Street.

Since June 18, 25 people have been shot in the city.

During the news conference, they promised residents would see more officers on the street after Hawkins requested assistance Wednesday from the State Police and Albany County Sheriff's Department.

But their big focus is on intervention and other steps the city has previously used to tamp down and prevent the cycle of retaliatory shootings, they said.

Sheehan said officials will be focusing their attention on "those individuals who are committing this violence and the groups that they are affiliated with."

She said the city will fill '"gaps" that were not being filled.

She said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions to stop violence, such as visits with people on probation, could not happen.

She also called on community and religious leaders in the city to do what they can to help the city as it heads in to the summer.

"We need everybody to be coming together to utilize whatever resources they have at their disposal to ensure we’re engaging young people and keeping people engaged this summer," she said.

"This is not something any one entity can deal with or do on their own."

Sixty people have been shot so far this year in the city and eight have been killed, including four within the last week.

The city had four homicides in 2019.

A series of feuds over drugs, social media slights, and perceived disrespect is driving a cycle of violence where groups are retaliating against each other, Hawkins said.

The department was making progress in their investigations and moving toward arresting those involved, he said.

"We have an idea of what some of the underlying issues are and right now we are in the enforcement mode," Hawkins said.

"I think it's important for our community to know that what we are seeing right now a very small group of individuals who are responsible for a very large percentage of the violence that we're seeing in our community."

"The violence that we're seeing is appalling, it's unacceptable and it will not be tolerated."

On Thursday, police also identified both of Wednesday's homicide victims but no arrests have been made yet.

In Wednesday's first homicide, surveillance video reviewed by the Times Union shows Nyjawuan Thomas, 21 of Troy, driving a U-Haul pickup truck down South Pearl Street, being pursued by a black Jeep.

Thomas tried to turn east on to Morton Avenue but hit a van, crashing in to a light pole outside the Albany County office building .

The Jeep managed to make the right turn on to Morton Avenue and as Thomas ran from the crashed truck, his killer fired, striking him in the back.

Thomas fell to the sidewalk, lying halfway in the road.

A passerby stopped to check on Thomas but the Jeep turned back on to South Pearl Street, pulled up alongside Thomas and his killer fired several more times before speeding off.

In the second fatal shooting, police said Eddie Richardson, 23, was shot near Second Avenue and Grandview Terrace.

He was taken to Albany Medical Hospital where he died.

Police also said they arrested a man who allegedly fired several shots Wednesday evening but didn't injure any one.

Kareem Alston, 32, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of weapon and reckless endangerment after he fired several shots at people near Ontario and Third streets.

Sheehan and Hawkins were not the only city officials in the region attempting to calm residents' fears on Thursday.

In Troy, Mayor Patrick Madden and Police Chief Brian Owens issued a statement after a series of shootings and stabbings in the city, asking for residents' help in solving the crimes.

“Additional patrols and resources, including our (Rensselaer) county, state and federal partners, are being deployed to investigate recent violent incidents in our city, but additional help from the community is critical for successful investigations," Owens said.

Written By Steve Hughes

Steve is the Times Union's morning cop reporter. He's previously reported for papers in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Utica and Cortland. Originally from Syracuse, he's a 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo.

Reach him at 518-454-5438 ... ief&stn=nf

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