ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Protests across the Capital Region have been noticeably calmer following riots at the beginning of June. The group 518 Peacekeepers is taking credit for making sure people don’t use protests to incite riots.
“It was our team that helped secure the members in Troy that were driving around with like a little militia in their van,” said organizer Lukee Forbes. “We’re going place-to-place making sure that everyone is safe especially with what’s going on in our community right now,” Forbes said.
There have been more than 30 shootings and four people are dead in Albany during the month of June following a rash of gun violence. Forbes is trying to raise up a community that’s also experiencing a wave of violence from within.
“It’s a strange time because you’re seeing your community being harmed, but you’re also seeing your community being oppressed,” Forbes said.
The Albany County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police have joined the Albany Police Department to show a greater police presence throughout the city streets.
That’s the opposite of what Forbes said needs to be done.
“That same funding that you’re using to pay those people, you could have bought a community center, you could have built a community center. You could have hired back some teachers that you’re firing,” Forbes said.
Albany Common Council has proposed policing and social reforms, but Forbes said they’ll continue to protest until words turn into action.
“It doesn’t matter if our crowd is big. It doesn’t matter if our crowd is small. They shall hear us,” Forbes said.
Two suspects in recent shooting have been arrested.