Police chief responds to Albany arrest video | WNYT.com
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Police chief responds to Albany arrest video

September 03, 2019 06:56 PM

ALBANY - Cellphone video of an arrest shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday in Albany has been widely shared on social media. 

"The police were riding back and forth, really aggressive, harassing different people," said resident Jaimeir Smith. 

A woman was in a car at the corner of Madison Avenue and Grand Street.

One officer raises his arm and brings it down once, then four or five more times. 

The woman was brought out of the car and down to the ground.

Smith says he was shocked at what he saw.

"It's frustrating. If you want to help the neighborhood, there are different ways to help the neighborhood. You can't be aggressive with the neighborhood to help them. There are different ways to get with the community. That's why they call it community policing," he said.

WEB EXTRA: Full Albany police arrest video - WARNING: Strong language

Police say 26-year-old Brianna Biddings of Albany was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest and cited for double parking. 

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says the clip is misleading. 

"What's even more commendable about how those officers reacted that day was there was a seven to eight minute period of time after they had told this person that she was under arrest that the officers were almost pleading with her to comply," he said. "Because you could tell they were consciously thinking of other ways of resolving this incident that wouldn't involve a physical confrontation."

He said Biddings was parked in the middle of the street and was non-compliant from the get-go, escalating what would have been a simple traffic stop.

"The officers used forearm strikes to her forearm. So in other words, this was the officer using his or her forearm strike against that driver's forearm in order to get that person to release that steering wheel. Clearly shown in the body-worn camera. There were no strikes whatsoever to that person's face. There were no punches thrown," said Chief Hawkins.

Hawkins says the officers' actions were appropriate.  

"In fact, it was textbook de-escalation. And the appropriate discretion and professionalism and quite frankly, I'm proud of how those officers responded." 

The chief says there was a large police presence there that night because residents at a recent neighborhood meeting demanded that police be more proactive in response to some issues they've been having.


Kumi Tucker

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