Albany Common Council tables vote on tear gas ban

Emily Burkhard
Created: April 19, 2021 11:44 PM

Albany Common Council discussed legislation that would ban the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by city police. Council members were divided on the tear gas issue, and nine of them chose to delay a vote until a later date.

Council members did listen to concerns from the community; many of them said they want to see the resolution passed as is.

That was after some council members said they would support the law, if there were specific parameters in place that would permit police to use tear gas. Most public speakers were very opposed to that idea.

One person pointed out that you can't control tear gas and who it affects and it often impacts innocent bystanders or peaceful protestors as we saw last May.

"It collectively punishes crowds that are always overwhelmingly peaceful,” Galen Hines said. “As has been mentioned, almost a century ago it was deemed that teargas was too terrible of a weapon to even be permitted in times of war. It's too terrible for war, but it's just right for Albany's city streets."

Others, like Councilwoman Joyce Love, said there could be instances when police need to disburse a violent crowd to protect themselves and the community.

"I'm getting phone calls from my own family members, retired state troopers, don't lead this thing without no repercussion,” Third Ward Councilwoman Joyce Love said. “They're pulling out something and we're not replacing it with anything else. I'm just, I'm afraid I'm afraid for my community and the lower wards, that's what I'm afraid for."

Council members heard public comments until 8:30 p.m. Monday night. There were also dozens of messages from community members posted to the council's public Facebook page, which some said violates their privacy.

Council did not announce when they plan to vote on the measure.


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