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Council responds to Taser issues

April 29, 2015

by Lolita Avila

The most recent Taser incident in Albany last Saturday which sent one man to the hospital, became a topic of interest at the Wednesday caucus meeting of the Albany Common Council. Members expressed their frustration about a second recent Taser event involving the Albany Police Department.

Wednesday’s Common Council Meeting/Lolita Avila

Wednesday’s Common Council Meeting/Lolita Avila

The Council discussed policies and possible legislative proposals that might diffuse any tension between residents and police officers.

“It is our responsibility as council members to take a stance…Even though we are not Ferguson, New York City and now Baltimore, this must not go unnoticed,” said Vivan Kornegay, a council member representing the 2nd ward.

Kornegay made a reference to  Jamarl Townsend  who was hospitalized for two days after he was stunned in the shoulder and head with a Taser.  Townsend lost consciousness and suffered a seizure according to reports.  After police revived him he was taken to Albany Medical Center.  Earlier this month an Albany resident, Donald Ivy, was Tasered and later died.

One council person wants the city’s public safety committee to hold a meeting discussing effective legislation and resolutions. Councilman Ron Bailey would like to push for legislation that would require Albany police officers to wear body cameras.

Bailey emphasized the significance of attendance at council meetings.

“We work for you so we need to listen to what you have to say,” Bailey said.

The Common Council in discussion/Lolita Avila

The Common Council in discussion/Lolita Avila

A faithful and loyal Albany resident,  Jim Lyons,  agreed with Bailey about the benefits of getting involved in the community. He is a member of various neighborhood associations and attends almost every Common Council meeting.  He enjoys learning about upcoming businesses and what is going on in the area.

“It  helps me represent my neighborhood and get to know my council members on a first name basis,” Lyons said.

In the caucus meeting the members also discussed the authorization of a business lease for Broadway Albany Realty. The company was granted permission to use a portion of Colonie Street to extend its business. The council also briefly debated the contracts of 911 dispatchers. On Monday, May 4, the Common Council will reconvene at 5:30 p.m. for their regularly scheduled meeting.-30-

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