ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany Common Council is revisiting a proposal that would ban the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police.
“This is an important topic it’s not going to be rushed we’re going to make sure we do it right,” said Councilmen of the 15th Ward Thomas Hoey.
Local Laws J and K would ban Albany Police from using tear gas or rubber bullets. The proposals failed to pass last year, but several Capital Region organizations pushed to bring them back for debate.
“This needs to be something that is taken seriously like I said this is chemical warfare and this is Albany New York I mean when did you think you’d ever be using chemical warfare in Albany New York,” says Samira Sangare, Leader of Black Lives Matter, Saratoga.
The idea to ban these types of non-lethal force came following two days of protests on May 31 and June 1, 2020. Which at points turned violent.
“We’re helping people that were being shot with rubber bullets to get home and a lot of these folks like I said weren’t even a part of this protest and even if they were the protest largely were nonviolent,” said Shawn Young, Co-Founder All of Us Community Action Group, Schenectady
Mayor Kathy Sheehan does not support local laws J and K, but her Chief of Staff David Galin sent us the following statement:
“Mayor Sheehan is supportive of local law L that would codify the updated Albany Police Department general orders and ban the use of tear gas against non-violent First Amendment protesters”.
“Rather than focus on calling it a complete ban, we want to look at real sensible legislation where you can talk about is there times where it should not be used,” said Common Council President, Corey Ellis.
The Common Council voting to move to public hearings. At least three could be held. One for medical experts, a second for police and veterans, and a third for those who have been directly impacted by tear gas and rubber bullets to share their experiences.