ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Chief Eric Hawkins held a press briefing at 2 p.m. concerning what they call a ‘riot’ at the Albany Police South Station on Wednesday. Surveillance and body-worn camera footage were shown at the news conference.
Chief Eric Hawkins and Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the officers’ actions were justified by police after reviewing footage from a protest Wednesday that escalated to what they’re now calling a riot.
“I commend [the officers] for the constraint that they showed. I commend them for trying to deescalate the situation. And I hope that we don’t have to deal with escalation like that again,” Sheehan said.
Shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, protesters began marching westbound down Western Avenue.
Protestors ended at the Albany Police South Station where a window was broken and bottles were being thrown at officers. Officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
“There was a false narrative out there regarding this. There was narrative out there that Albany Police officers instigated, set the events in motion, that resulted in chaos,” Hawkins said.
Despite the video being shown, protester Legacy Casanova said they’ve done nothing wrong.
“When were we rioting. There was no rioting,” Casanova said.
He added the officers may not have liked their words. In some of the video you can hear protesters shouting out slurs to a Black officer, but despite Friday’s release of the video he calls their protest peaceful.
“It’s like they were agitating us. It’s a peaceful protest, so because we are being loud and because we are protesting against police brutality you guys attack us and spray us with pepper spray,” Casanova said.
The district attorney’s office has been contacted by the police department and charges could be filed against some of the protesters.