Updated: June 02, 2020 01:00 PM
Created: June 02, 2020 08:46 AM
ALBANY – Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says protests in Albany started peacefully Monday afternoon until another group came along with different plans.
Hawkins and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan held a press briefing Tuesday after Monday night’s protests at police headquarters.
Protestors stood behind barricades that surrounded police headquarters on Henry Johnson Boulevard. Hawkins says there was some good dialogue, and he even took a knee to support protestors.
"I believe that it's important that we understand that a lot of people are in pain and that symbolic gestures of unity and solidarity are helpful in situations like this," he explained.
However, he said after that at some point the night took a turn.
@MayorSheehan and @ChiefHawkinsAPD spoke with the media after last nights protests at police headquarters. Chief said 11 people arrested last night, 9 directly related to the protests, 5 of 9 are not from #Albany. More on why they want peaceful conversation on @WNYT at Noon. pic.twitter.com/2r3JQZvOLl— Emily De Vito (@emilydevito) June 2, 2020
"At some point, someone within the crowd lobbed what looked to me to be some commercial grade fireworks at the officers who were behind the barricades," said Hawkins.
The chief says that's when officers did what they had to do to break up the crowd, firing off tear gas.
Sheehan says she understands people are angry and hurt. She says they are working on a plan, such as an open door policy, to better communicate with people in the community.
"There's no resistance in this department to reform, to community engagement, and to making sure we're lifting the voices of people in this community and respecting their experience and respecting what they're going through,” the mayor said.
Hawkins said nine people were arrested in connection to the protest. He said five of those people were not from Albany.
"My concern about those who come here with other tactics in mind is that it drowns out the voices of this community," Sheehan said. “The voices of hurt that are here in this community."
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