In a tense battle of wills, state troopers and Albany police held off making arrests of dozens of protesters near the Capitol over the weekend even as Albany’s mayor, under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, had urged his police chief to enforce a city curfew...
“We were ready to make arrests if needed, but these people complied with our orders,” a State Police official said. However, he added that State Police supported the defiant posture of Albany police leaders to hold off making arrests for the low-level offense of trespassing, in part because of concern it could incite a riot or draw thousands of protesters in a backlash that could endanger police and the public.
“We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble,” the official said. “The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor.”
A city police source said his department also was reluctant to damage what he considers to be good community relations that have taken years to rebuild. In addition, the crowd included elderly people and many others who brought their children with them.
“There was a lot of discussion about how it would look if we started pulling people away from their kids and arresting them … and then what do we do with the children?” one officer said.
Nowadays, I’m more surprised when the police do their jobs than when they don’t. Still, I have to give credit to the Albany Police Department. This is probably the most mature and least costly approach to a group of peaceful demonstrators.
Many of us are so proud of the Albany PD here. My roommate has been attending the General Assemblies and I told him that they should make it a point to send the Albany police department a letter, signed by as many people as will put their name on it, thanking the Albany PD for protecting the protesters, and also Albany D.A. David Soares for stating that his office would refuse to prosecute any case in which evidence didn’t suggest criminal activity.
This is what good policing looks like. This is what responsible D.A.’s look like.
So proud of my capital.
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