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Community gathers to discuss Troy fight
TROY -- Residents packed
the Missing Link AME Zion Church Monday evening to discuss allegations of
excessive force by the police department during a weekend bar brawl.
Police were called to Kokopellis bar early Saturday morning after a 911 call of an assault. Officers were seen on surveillance and cell phone video using a baton on patrons during an arrest. Mayor Lou Rosamilia said in a statement bottles were thrown at officers, a fire extinguisher was discharged and a trash can was thrown into a patrol car.
I don't believe that type of excessive force was necessary especially in the incident where Im watching one young man who threw up his arms and said hey Im calm. They grabbed him by the back of the neck, threw him on the floor, said Rev. Willie Bacote, who organized the meeting.
Kokopellis owner, Joe
Glick, told the audience the incident occurred while some patrons were honoring
the life of a shooting victim in Albany. Glick said his security received a
report of two men smoking marijuana on the dance floor and he moved to shut
down for the night.
He said while patrons were getting their coats, one man attempted to push past a security guard. Glick then said the man dragged the guard downstairs where he was assaulted by a group, which prompted two 911 calls. Residents and Glick said the officers quickly grew aggressive.
An officer came in and pointed his Billy Club at me and said you shut this [expletive] party down now and I said this party's been shut down for a half-hour, said Glick.
A police spokesperson and the mayor initially defended the actions of the officers as necessary force to make six arrests. Eight officers were injured in the incident.
Also on Monday, the councils public safety committee held a regularly scheduled meeting to discuss police contracts, but the Kokopellis incident was not on the agenda. After the meeting, Chief John Tedesco said the department is still reviewing the incident.
I don't have the information available to make any conclusion one way or the other, said Tedesco. My reaction of course is to be objective. Were collecting information and we'll take a look at it and go from there.
Bacote is demanding Tedesco submit his resignation over the incident. He also demanded an external investigation, the suspension of involved officers and the names of officers involved.
Residents are planning a rally at City Hall next Tuesday at 6pm during a committee meeting.
We want this investigation to be open. We want to get to the bottom of it. Were not asking for anything anymore, we're demanding that you tell us what happened, said Bacote. Release the names of the officers and allow the community to be involved in this entire process.
To read the Mayor of Troy's statement regarding the incident, click here.