Tensions remain high between Albany Police and protesters

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The nation continues to react to the guilty verdict handed down in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Protests are being held across the country, including in Albany. Protesters have been camping outside the Albany Police Department South Station for five days.

Barriers are placed on each side of Arch St. in South Albany. Barricades are placed around the Albany Police Department South Station. Albany Public Information Officer Steve Smith says the sidewalk needs to remain clear in case of an emergency. The South Station is covered in graffiti and posters with explicit language are hung up.

The George Floyd Case shook the nation. Local protesters were very, vocal after the verdict came out. Some protesters surrounded and stood on the roof of an Albany Police car holding up a Black Lives Matter Flag. Officers say that parol car now has damage to it. “That’s not peaceful when you do that…if you want to voice your concerns there’s a way to voice your concerns peacefully,” says Gregory McGee, President of the Albany Police Officers Union. However, local protester Lexis Figuereo says no harm was done. “In a time of joy over a murder, and finally maybe getting a piece of justice, I think that’s crazy to say that’s not peaceful…we weren’t up there all day, we got up there for two seconds, it is what it is.”

After speaking with officers, APOU President Gregory McGee wrote a letter to Chief Eric Hawkins and Mayor Kathy Sheehan addressing his public safety concerns. McGee says this is affecting work and is endangering the safety of our community and police officers. “It’s completely unsafe down there, we have officers hiding behind a barricade door with handcuffs with the door, this is not something that needs to go on, and it jeopardizes the safety who works inside that building.”

After Derek Chauvin left that Minneapolis courtroom on Tuesday, the social climate has been high. Local law enforcement say the job has been affected, but work still needs to get done. “The social climate right now is skewed to a point where we won’t be able to immediately make corrections or changes, but long-term we do want to develop the community relationship but boy, we have a tough road ahead of us now with recent events,” says Retired Troy Police Captain John Cooney.

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