ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The office of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has released a statement related to the protest response at South Station on April 22. In response to protesters who said that neither Sheehan nor Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins met with them to discuss their grievances:
“I meet with Albany residents all the time about policing reform and other topics—it’s one of the best parts of my job. The residents of this city are my number one priority. If a resident wants to meet with me, they can email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the coming days, we will be issuing a Request for Proposals to secure an outreach coordinator to lead what we expect to be a robust and engaging conversation with Albany residents around our policing reform plan and the priorities of our residents in this important work.”Kathy Sheehan
Mayor of Albany
The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault also released a statement related to the clash between police and protesters. It reads in part:
The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) is committed to ending not only sexual violence, but also oppression in all of its forms, including racist and state-sanctioned violence. NYSCASA joins community members in condemning the Albany Police Department’s recent aggressive and violent acts towards protesters calling for an end to police violence against Black and Brown New Yorkers.
This statement echoes many of the statements previously shared by NYSCASA and our neighbors in Albany. Community members have repeatedly called for policy and structural change to end anti-Black policing in our city, an acknowledgment of collective trauma experienced by Black and Brown community members, and an end to the Albany Police Department’s use of excessive force against protesters. City officials have repeatedly ignored these calls, choosing to pit community members against each other and spreading misinformation about APD’s actions.
The Capital Region Coalition of Survivors also issued a statement on Friday that condemns the police response:
We are a coalition of survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse located in New York’s Capital Region. We join our neighbors in condemning the violent actions of the Albany Police Department against protesters at Albany Police Department (APD) South Station, on April 22, 2021. Moreover, we condemn APD’s use of racist, sexist, and transphobic tropes to defend the actions of police officers who concealed their identity to evade accountability for their actions due to fear of rape.
To Chief Eric Hawkins, the Albany Police Department, and the City of Albany, we say: NOT IN OUR NAMES will you use the nature of our survivorship, of rape and sexual violence to continue to harm and kill Black bodies, especially that of Black Young LGBTQGNC populations.
At an Albany Common Council Meeting on April 28, 2021, we heard Chief Eric Hawkins make excuses in defense of APD officers who went against the department’s policy by removing their name tags and covering their badges before brutalizing activists outside APD South Station on April 22. Specifically, Chief Hawkins claimed that officers felt that, with their names and badges visible, their “wives and children would be raped.” Chief Hawkins offered no evidence of this claim, nor have any such threats been found on any recordings from that day.
The Capital Region Coalition of Survivors says it plans to hold a press conference and survivor speak-out in the coming days. The group says that abuse survivors who support its position can sign the statement digitally. They also provided the following resources for survivors:
- In Our Own Voices: Support line for LGBTQ BIPOC survivors: (518) 432-4341
- Albany County crime victim and sexual violence helpline: (518) 447-7716
- Albany County Equinox domestic violence helpline: (518) 432-7865 or online chat
- Rensselaer County Unity House domestic violence helpline: (518) 272-2730
- Rensselaer County St. Peter’s crime victim services helpline: (518) 271-3257
- Saratoga County Planned Parenthood victim advocacy helpline: (866) 207-4086
- Saratoga County Wellspring helpline: (518) 584-8188 or chat online
- Schenectady County Planned Parenthood victim advocacy helpline: (518) 346-2266
- Schenectady County YWCA of Northeastern New York domestic violence helpline (518) 374-3386