Updated: June 03, 2020 07:45 PM
Created: June 03, 2020 07:42 PM
The Albany-based Center for Law and Justice is weighing in on the recent protests and riots.
Founder Dr. Alice Green is calling on city officials to take a stronger stance against racial prejudice and inequality.
One of her fears, is the violence that has followed George Floyd's death and the subsequent police response is taking away from the true issue at hand: How do we overcome the difficulty society has when it comes to talking about and addressing systematic racism.
"The officials said this was a riot that took place," said Dr. Green. "Our perspective was that it was an uprising."
Dr. Green has been advocating for equality and peace for 35 years.
She said a report released by her center earlier in the year warned of anger and distrust directed at police within the communty, on the heels of two questionable incidents involving Albany officers.
One, the 2018 shooting of Ellazar Williams that left the 19-year-old paralyzed.
The second, the excessive use of force during another incident on First St. in March 2019.
Dr. Green said the report included suggestions on ways to strengthen relationships and promote healing between officers and the people they serve. Those suggestions, she said, were ignored.
"The chief had made the statement that the relationship between the Albany police department and the community is excellent. There are no problems. Basically. We had told him that were problems in our report," said Dr. Green.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins went on the record with his rebuttal.
"I challenge anybody to find a chief who's been more accessible and more open to discussion than me," said Chief Hawkins.
Chief Hawkins stands with his officers and the handling of the aftermath of Floyd's death. He said they're committed to moving forward and having those important conversations, and healing the community as a whole.
Dr. Green does not condone the recent violence, but said she understands the emotion behind it. She said attention needs to shift back to why this is happening and how we move forward.
Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company