Saratoga Springs apologizes for racist past

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A new panel will look at righting wrongs when it comes to racism in Saratoga Springs.

The city passed a controversial resolution at its meeting on Tuesday night. The meeting ended shortly after, with people shouting over each other. 

The resolution apologizes for the city’s history of racism, including in policing.

The resolution says its goal is to acknowledge, apologize, and review the city’s racist past and establish a panel to start a conversation. It’s part of recommendations made by the police reform task force in the aftermath of 2020.

Among the assertions, apologizing for racism in law enforcement.

The resolution passed almost unanimously. The lone no vote came from Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino.

The city sees the resolution and panel as a necessary step to healing. Mayor Ron Kim pointed out that the city’s police department is under investigation by the attorney general’s office for its treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters. However, the apology creates further division among people and police, Montagnino said.

“To me, the reconciliation recommendation is, I think, an important part of moving forward and discussing basically things that have happened not only in Saratoga Springs but throughout our nation,” Kim said.

“We have members of our police department who run in the direction of gunfire, who risk their lives to keep the city a safe place – and to brand all of them racist in the stroke of a pen is wrong on so many levels,” Montagnino said.

The apology was just one of a list of recommendations after 2020 that Kim is planning to implement. The city council meeting that shut down Tuesday night will continue Thursday at 2:30.

Meantime, Saratoga Black Lives Matter founder Lexis Figuereo is pleased with the resolution, but he and others at the meeting want action on what’s happening now.

Hear his reaction, and how the Police Benevolent Association is responding to everything by watching the video of Stella Porter’s story.