The group “All of Us” has announced their plans to demonstrate on Sunday July 26, 2020, at City Hall in downtown Saratoga Springs. Their release focuses on two issues.
- They assert that the city’s plan to repair or replace the vandalized statue commemorating New York’s 77th Infantry Regiment’s role in the United States Civil War, is an example of putting property over people.
- They assert that the recent “Community Conversation” put on by the Commissioner of Public Safety regarding the police “silenced the people.”
This is the text of the release:
Join All Of Us at City Hall in Saratoga on Sunday, July 26 at 5:00 p.m. to demand that the people’s voices be heard and that the city prioritize people instead of prioritizing property.
The City of Saratoga Springs continues to prioritize property over people. Most recently, time, attention, and energy has been given to a statue yet not the call for justice. The time and money spent on the statue would be better spent on addressing issues of homelessness, police brutality, and all forms of racism and oppression.
Not only has the city chosen property over people, they continue to ignore and silence the people. At a recent “community” conversation, when the community tried to speak they literally muted the line and silenced the people. On Sunday, we will give space for the voices of the people to be heard!
We will not be silenced!
We will give space to hear from the community, unlike the city which literally silenced the voices of the community.All of Us Press Release
A Question of Strategy
It is beyond dispute that racism is fundamental and pervasive in our country. A police officer, with his fellow officers present, knelt on a Black man’s neck for almost nine minutes not only indifferent to the impending death of his victim but in front of a crowd that he must have known was recording the event.
It graphically demonstrated that the problem could not be simply attributed to a rogue policeman. It demonstrated the sense of impunity that existed in his police department. In so doing it shocked the conscience of most Americans.
The outrage and anger of Black Americans who have had to suffer this treatment is understandable.
Still, one of the legacies of the extraordinary life of Martin Luther King was the understanding of the need to develop a strategy that went beyond righteous anger if change was going to happen.
The way we pursue social change shapes whatever we achieve.
“The Community Conversation”
On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton convened what she described as a “Community Conversation” via Zoom. She, along with Police Chief Shane Crooks, and Assistant Police Chief John Catone made themselves available to anyone interested. Due to the limits imposed by Zoom only one hundred people were able to actually connect although others were able to watch the event.
The intent of Commissioner Dalton was laudable but the unstructured event descended into an exercise in which little that was constructive was achieved as participants used the occasion to vent their anger about the injustices they have experienced and their profound hostility to the police.
One of the main participants was Lexis Figuereo. He appears to have some leadership position in “All of Us.” He has appeared on television newscasts and has been quoted in local newspapers.
Some dedicated soul in the community named Megan Gorss not only crafted a transcript of the event, but included fact checking. She also followed up with most of the people who spoke at the event and included their comments about what happened.
I have extracted a portion of her text. I did so in order to allow the readers of this blog to determine for themselves whether Mr. Figuereo was silenced. While I do not think the event was very fruitful, in my own opinion, Commissioner Dalton provided Mr. Figuereo much time to air his complaints.
The Vandalized Statue
I also take exception to the allegation made by All of Us that the fact that the city plans to repair or replace the statue of the Union soldier vandalized in Congress Park proves the city places “property over the people.”
For a start to reduce the statue to “property” seems unfair.
Statues are used as symbols to express the ideals of a community. It is for this very reason that many communities are removing those that represent the Confederacy. Persons who fought in a war that would decide the future of slavery and who did so on the side that supported this odious institution do not deserve the status of icons.
The statue that was vandalized in Congress Park represents the local men who fought, and in some cases died, to defend the Union of the United States. While all of them may not have been motivated by the cause of emancipation, it is reasonable to assume that many were.
It seems to me ill conceived for All of Us to expend energy attacking people who want to continue to publicly recognize those whose sacrifice contributed to the end of slavery.
Many of the same people who are supporting the reconstruction of the statue would also I believe, support changes in the police department if convinced that there is a problem with the Saratoga police using excessive force or engaging in racial profiling.
The best way to address such issues and gain support is to document the events.
The 13 Demands of All of Us
I applaud All of Us for crafting their thirteen demands. These are a good starting point to discuss reform. Unfortunately, at least in Mr. Figuereo’s case, he appears unwilling to consider the impediments to some of the reforms All of Us seeks.
The transcript includes Commissioner Dalton’s response to demand #1 which is:
“We demand prosecution of all law enforcement and corrections officers for all violations of the civil rights of all people of color, marginalized individuals, and all peoples for, but not limited to, killings, beatings, false arrests, and harassment.”
She notes that decisions on whether to prosecute lie with the County District Attorney and not the police.
Mr. Figuereo responds:
I’m trying to talk. There are things that you can do to make sure that these people are prosecuted, though. You can switch- you can make rules. You have- you have powers. You have powers. You’re telling me that you have no powers at all over your police officers? And what they do, at all? I’m not talking about- I’m not even worrying about what happens after, I’m talking about the fact of them being held for accountability.
A Real Opportunity For Change
People who follow this blog know that I wrote extensively about what I considered the woeful mismanagement of the investigation of the death of Darryl Mount under the previous administration and Chief of Police.
To the extent that All of Us can produce documentation of abuse they can expect my vigorous support.
I know that I am not alone in wanting to find effective vehicles for combating the racism that has been so much a part of this country since its beginning. Building a movement that will bring about meaningful and lasting change requires developing thoughtful and disciplined strategies that seek to develop broad public support.
An Excerpt From The Transcript:[JK: I have highlighted the section where Commissioner Dalton responds to the 13 demands made by All of Us]
Lexis Figuereo: Can you hear me? Yeah, thank you for having me. So, there’s a lot of things that you’re not actually answering. I see you avoiding almost all the questions that you’re given when it comes down to anything that’s dealing with the protests or what’s going on in the Black community. Why is that?
Robin Dalton: The reason that is, is because I need to understand what the concerns are. And I’m here to listen to the concerns and then come up with a way to address them. I’m not going to be able to come up with a way to address them on the spot, but what I do want to do is listen and acknowledge what’s going on and hear from everyone in the community to put together a plan. I 100% don’t have all the answers, 100%. But what I need to do is be able to convers- like, have conversations like this one, hear what the concerns are, and then work together to come up with solutions.
Lexis Figuereo: Come up with solutions. Alright, that sounds good. You guys already heard my 13 Demands that we have as far as from my group. You know about it, the Chief knows about it, the Chief knows about it-
Robin Dalton: What group are you representing? I’m sorry to interrupt.
Lexis Figuereo: What’d you say?
Robin Dalton: What group are you representing? I’m sorry, I don’t- I can’t see the name. I’m far-
Lexis Figuereo: I’m representing All Of Us. I’m the person who’s been- I’m the person who’s doing all the protests. You know that. You know that. So, you know that, Robin. You’ve been trying to, supposedly, get a hold of me, that you’ve been telling everybody. You have not been trying to get a hold of me. I don’t- I have never spoken with you in my life. So the things that you are telling the community about me is a lie. I have a meeting that I was supposed to be having with the Chief and that is on my time, when I’m prepared to have a meeting with the Chief. So, like I said, you are not going to sit here and not address any of these things, that you’re not addressing anything. You know what the problem is, the problem is that Black people are being treated unfairly by your police and it’s been going on for years and years and years. And no changes have happened. And you know that. So, what do you mean, you don’t know what’s going on? And that is systematic, that is systematic. From the day that I moved here, I’ve been treated like crap by the police that you hire and we pay with our taxes. With my money.
Robin Dalton: So, I just want to apologize if you’ve reached out to me, I have not heard from you. I apologize that I haven’t reached out to you. I have tried to reach out to All Of Us. There’s a lot of different people popping up as leaders in this movement. I am always here to open up the dialog, I have always been open to conversation. I would absolutely be open to meeting with you, I just haven’t heard from you and I don’t have your contact information, but I would love to sit down and meet with you at any time.
Lexis Figuereo: And, okay, and that’s fine, we can sit down, as far as this public forum while we’re in front of everybody, so everybody can see what’s going on, I would like to know what you are going to do about the racism in your Police Department. You should have the answer. You should have the answer. You should have the answer. You should have the answer right now. It should be a quick answer, right now. You shouldn’t have to be thinking about it.
Robin Dalton: I would love to know what you think we should do. Like, I want to hear from you what you think some solutions would look like.
Lexis Figuereo: As I’ve said, I am the member of All Of Us from Saratoga. You have seen my demands. I have tagged Meg in the post. She sees it. You guys know, the Chief knows it, the Chief knows my 13 Demands. You want me to read them out to you? You know, the 13 Demands-
Robin Dalton: No, no. Actually, I have them right here [Dalton holds up a piece of paper and points to it] and if you want, I can take a moment to go over the 13 Demands.
Lexis Figuereo: Yep. Let’s go over them. And let’s see how you implement those 13 Demands.
Robin Dalton: Yeah, I’d be happy to go over them. [To Chiefs:] Is that okay with you guys?
Lexis Figuereo: And- and just let it be on note, that you just said that you didn’t even know who I was, but then you said that you had my demands. You had my demands, and you have reached out to Holly- you have reached out to Holly to get my information, because you know what my name is. You’ve reached out the Holly-
Robin Dalton: Listen. All I heard was your first name. I can’t see the screen, I can’t see your first and last name or your face from how far away I am sitting, so in no way was I intentionally trying to not-
Off Screen: …f****** trash. Wait what is- My s*** is hot. And I want the fan to, like, fan.
Lexis Figuereo: What is this? Like, what’s going on…?
Robin Dalton: Okay. So would you like for me to go over the 13 Demands? I’m happy to do so.
Lexis Figuereo: Yes.
Robin Dalton: Okay. The first one- I have them right here. The first one is, “We demand prosecution of all law enforcement and corrections officers for all violations of the civil rights of all people of color, marginalized individuals, and all peoples for, but not limited to, killings, beatings, false arrests, and harassment.” I am not in charge of prosecuting. We’re law enforcement. That would have to be a question for the DA. Either the DA here or the Attorney General.
Lexis Figuereo: So- so you cannot make it- so you cannot- you have nothing to do with- no, no, actually-
Robin Dalton: I have nothing to do with-
Lexis Figuereo: I’m trying to talk. I’m trying to-
Robin Dalton: -who gets prosecuted. Not one thing.
Lexis Figuereo: I’m trying to talk. There are things that you can do to make sure that these people are prosecuted, though. You can switch- you can make rules. You have- you have powers. You have powers. You’re telling me that you have no powers at all over your police officers? And what they do, at all? I’m not talking about- I’m not even worrying about what happens after, I’m talking about the fact of them being held for accountability.
Robin Dalton: You know what? I feel like this would be better in a private meeting so we could have some back and forth dialog.
Lexis Figuereo: Okay. Okay, now it’s a private meeting? You just said it was fine- you just said it was fine to not have a private meeting, and you-
Robin Dalton: You want me to go through the demands and respond to them? I’m happy to do so, but you have to allow me the opportunity to read them and talk about what I can control and what I can’t control.
Lexis Figuereo: You read it. You read the one demand. And you said what your answer was to that and I-
Robin Dalton: Okay. So, the second one is, “Specific to-
Lexis Figuereo: Wait- you’re- now, now wait a second, wait a second. Now you’re going to talk over me? That’s disrespectful, because I did not talk over you. I did not.
Chief Catone: This is [indiscernible].
Robin Dalton: Yeah.
Lexis Figuereo: I did not.
Robin Dalton: Alright, I’m going to go onto the next person.
Lexis Figuereo: Now you’re going to cut me off? That’s what I’m saying. See- do you see what’s going on, Saratoga Springs? Do you see what’s going on? This is why we are having these protests. This is why. This is why. I am talking civilly just like everybody else did. That man before- the man before me came at you just like I did. He sure did. He sure did. And you answered none of his questions, either. And he had his facts, alright.
Robin Dalton: Lisa, can we go onto the next person?
Lexis Figuereo: Yes. Why do you want to go onto the next person? The people want to hear me. The people want to hear me. They want to hear me speaking to you in public, that’s what the-
[Lexis is muted]
Robin Dalton: If you want to mute all, I’m happy to read through all 13 Demands. [To Chiefs:] What do you think? Yeah?
Lisa: Everybody’s muted right now but you.
Robin Dalton: Okay. I’m going to quickly go through the 13 Demands that were brought up for All Of Us. The second one is, “Specific to the offices of the DA, City, and County, divergent back to the community of all seized proven drug profits from convicted drug charges.” And I was hoping Chief Catone could address that, perhaps? And how civil asset forfeitures works specific to drug cases.
Chief Catone: So, that’s really at the discretion of the District Attorney’s office. When they prosecute the cases and whatever the ultimate disposition of the case is. I will tell you this, that whatever moneys do come back — and they are minimal — it is split up three ways. It is split up between the Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, and I believe it’s either CAPTAIN or OASIS that gets the other third. But we do not do forfeitures on a regular basis. They’re far and few between.
Robin Dalton: The third item on here is, “Automatic firing for all racist texts, emails, letters, social media posts, phone calls, and so-called private conversations by any law enforcement officers or correction officers.” So, my immediate response to this was, I got a little bit stuck in the “automatic firing” because I think it’s really important for people to understand that all of our officers are bound by civil service and union contracts. And so, we- there’s really no such thing in the state of New York — where civil service exists — as automatic firings. That being said, if any of those things came to my attention, I would hand them over to the Chief who would discipline accordingly. The fourth item is, “Chargeable offense and process of Community Response Review with recommendation powers for all “living Black hate crimes” for private citizens who commit these crimes and the police who attempt to enforce them.” My understanding of that is that it is looking for a third party civilian oversight or a civilian review board. As of right now, I am the civilian oversight. I’m elected every two years and that’s what my job is to do at this moment. Number five is, “Automatic firing for all disengaged or damaged body cams.” We have had body cameras, we’ve had dash cameras, we have backseat cameras, we have cameras throughout the city. We’ve had them since 2013. When it comes to disengaged or damaged body cameras, my only concern there is that in the event that an officer’s camera was damaged, I’m not- I mean, I don’t know- I’m not really sure [indiscernible] that much, honestly.
Chief Crooks: The problem with that is the cameras are electronics just like phones. Everything else, they break down over time, they require maintenance, they’re run(?) by magnets, the way they’re held onto the officers, they get knocked off. It’s- that has a lot of issues within [indiscernible] the ways that they could be damaged. They’re not- in accidental damage because you’re going to make an arrest and your camera falls off just doesn’t make sense.
Robin Dalton: Number six is, “Specific to the DA. Abolition of all no-knock warrants.” That, as stated, is specific to the DA. Number seven is, “End of all ticket writing incentive programs, speed trap schemes, parking violations, and traffic stops for petty violations.” I just want to point out that we do have parking enforcement. They are not under the law enforcement- or, they’re not under the Police Department. They are separate from the Police Department. We don’t have a traffic division so we don’t have any speed trap schemes.
Chief Catone: Nor ticket quotas or anything.
Robin Dalton: Nor any- and we don’t have any ticketing quotas, at all, whatsoever. Number eight is, “The end to all non-recorded sobriety tests.” All of our sobriety tests are recorded. Number nine, “Abolition of chokeholds, strangleholds, and hogties for all law enforcement and correction officers inside jails and prisons.” [To Chiefs:] Do one of you guys want to take that?
Chief Crooks: We don’t have a jail.
Chief Catone: We have a holding cell, we don’t have a jail or prison facility.
Robin Dalton: But specifically, I think they’re talking about the chokeholds, strangleholds, and hogties. Those are illegal in New York State already. And they are not permissible in our department. Number ten is, “Ban shooting at moving vehicles.” This was important I think to talk about. The last time a firearm was discharged at anyone in Saratoga Springs by our Police Department was in 1997 and it was actually at a moving vehicle. Chief Catone, I know, could speak more to that, but my only concern with that is we have a lot of mass gatherings here. We have everything from Victorian Street Walk to Chowder Fest. In the event we had an act of terrorism and there was a moving vehicle coming towards a crowd, I would like our Police Department to have the ability to stop that vehicle in any way they could. Number eleven, “Require all force be reported with racial data captured for both the law enforcement officer or correction officer and the injured party and review by a Civilian Review Board with full access to unredacted files and evidence and the power to submit to the Attorney General for further review, investigation, and potential charges.” As of right now, I know that all force is recorded with racial data already. In terms of the rest, I don’t know if either one of you has a response to the rest?
Chief Catone: No, I- you know, I think it goes back up to whatever question that was, number four or five, is-
Robin Dalton: The civilian review board?
Chief Catone: Yeah.
Robin Dalton: Yep. Number twelve, “Anti-racism training for all persons working with- for law enforcement and detention facilities (including but not limited to jails, prisons, and juvenile detentions).” We are all about anti-racism training and bias training, it’s something we’re going to be looking at in the future and something that we’ve done in the past, as we’ve discussed. Number thirteen is, “Demilitarize law enforcement and defunding of law enforcement agencies with the funds reallocated to Community Based Restorative Groups for conflict resolution and restorative practices and other community-based services and solutions.” So, I’m really glad this was brought up, because we have already begun to cut the police budget . I cut it by about 8% this Spring already, but I can’t reallocate those funds. The reason I had to cut our budget was because we don’t have the money anymore. So it’s not that I’m taking money to be able to put it somewhere else, it’s that we don’t have the money in general. The city’s budget is expected to go down by a third because of the pandemic and the effect it’s had on our economy. I also want to point out that social services are not provided by the city of Saratoga Springs. Social services are provided by Saratoga County. So, when you talk about reallocating police funds to social services, you’re talking about the county budget and not the city budget which I think is an important distinction to make. Those are the 13 Demands as I’ve read them from All Of Us. I would be happy to have a future conversation about this more in detail in the coming weeks, but hopefully I’ve addressed it, at least initially, as much as I can. Again, I welcome further communication back and forth on any of those issues. But now, I would go back to questions, comments, and concerns from people on the call.
Lisa: Ilyssa Roberts.
Robin Dalton: Ilyssa? Are you there?
Ilyssa Roberts: I am. Hi. First: as a white woman, you have completely dominated this conversation and in fact muted a community member of color. I’d prefer to yield my time back to Lexis so that he can respond to the demands that you just read through.
Robin Dalton: Okay.
Lisa: Okay, he’s coming back in.
Robin Dalton: Lexis, are you there? Well, if he comes back on, is there anyone else who wants to make a comment or question? I see a hand raised somewhere.
Lisa: So, everybody’s raising their hand in order here. So the next one is Nedra.
Robin Dalton: Nedra, are you there?
Nedra Hickenbottom: Yes, I’m here.
Robin Dalton: How are you?
Nedra Hickenbottom: Alright. And you?
Robin Dalton: I’m fine.
Nedra Hickenbottom: I have to agree that you’ve been passing off all the different things that you’re saying to the DA. “The DA, the DA, the DA.” I mean, what is it that you or some of the rest of the cops and stuff can do, as a Chief, to cops that are treating Black people the way that they do? Just the other night, there was five cops on top of a guy who had his shirt off. And staying there, you didn’t see him with a weapon, but you guys were all on him. Tasing? I heard that tasing was done there and I think you need to investigate. I also know that there’s cops that are stealing people’s money because I know that the individual had money. And it was seen that a cop went and took his money and said that there is nothing in the wallet. So what is going on here with this Police Department? I cannot send my kids out without somebody having to follow them or either worry about them since they were little, because I have to worry that my kids of color are going to be harassed by your cops. And this has been going on for a long time. And I’m just hearing that you’re the only person that’s part of a review board? Who are you to be the only person? You’re not even a person of color, of anything. They need to be a whole lot of other people. There should be Chinese, Native American, it should be a whole group of people, and people that are Black also. And not just one single woman supposedly being the ruler of all and doesn’t seem to really know what she can really do or not do and passes it off to the DA. I don’t understand this at all. And I want to know what are we not doing that we’re not getting some of these cops out of here. They need to be defunded and out. We need to start anew, or maybe we don’t need a Police Department anymore here in Saratoga Springs if you’re going to treat people the way that you do. And to that other woman earlier talking about the fact that she’s seen people at protests doing things, I have yet to see. I’ve seen people almost being ran over, almost hurt. The last protest that went on, the cops did really nothing. That was the one time they did nothing. And I have yet to see them wear masks at protests. Where’s the mask there? I don’t understand why I have to wear a mask and the cops don’t. Who said that it was something different? I think that I need to speak to the Governor.
Chandler Hickenbottom: Not only that- Wait, we’re going to wait a second, because as one of her Black children that actually could not get on this and I am also part of the group of All Of Us, I want to say some things for my brother as well. What I’m not understanding is why- why when there’s like a fight or something called, we have 20 police officers showing up at Clancy’s? Because just the other night, Wednesday night, there was a fight that happened between two Black young men and another white male and all of a sudden — I’m sitting across the street at my father’s house — and there’s sixteen cop cars pulled up and it’s from four different departments. Are y’all that bored? You don’t have anything else to do? During this time-
Nedra Hickenbottom: Yeah, what is Park Police doing there?
Chandler Hickenbottom: Hold on, no. During this time though- I’m not understanding: y’all have all this time on your hands. Y’all could be doing some training. I’m not understanding: where is our money going to? Because you are wasting our money by having these officers come to a fight literally for no reason. They want to sit here and ask people that weren’t even at the fight whether or not there was 20 people involved, knowing that when the person called they said there was 3 people involved. But it was two Black males so y’all had to show up. You had to show up and show out. And that’s ridiculous.
Nedra Hickenbottom: And how come when a Black person gets pulled over, four different cop cars has to come? And why do you have to come into my car without having a warrant? Why do you have to search my car? Why are my kids being followed around? And this has happened plenty of times. And since all this has been occurring — just to let you know, because my son is Lexis Figuereo — so, just to let you guys know, I’m watching you guys all the time. That there’s been a few times that people have followed behind my son. Why are lights — big bright lights — coming on his face, like you guys can’t see standing at a light, when he’s at a lamp post, to see who he is? Y’all have to put a spotlight on him like he’s that daggon dark you can’t see out there and he’s under the light and he’s not, because he’s [indiscernible]. So I don’t understand why he gets harassed. And he’s been getting harassed more and more. And I’m telling all of you guys, to be on the lookout because I tell you, if anything happens to any of my children — are y’all hearing me? You’re all going down.
Chandler Hickenbottom: And that’s a fact.
Nedra Hickenbottom: Because if anything happens to any one of my children because they’re speaking up for their rights as an American, mind you. Okay? My forefathers were here even before some of my other ones were here because I’m part Native American. So when something happens to any of my children, I’m going to be down there on all you guys so fast. So you better start watching for my son and not harassing my son. Don’t come rolling up on my son. He’s almost gotten ran off the road since then, now. He’s getting all these different messages from people saying harassing things to him because he’s just trying to make this place a better place that we all live in. So you guys need to be very careful. And you need to watch about this black-on-black stuff that happened right outside the police station just the other day. And you need to investigate.
Chandler Hickenbottom: Not only that, you also need to make sure you take down my name and my sister’s name, because I’m telling you right now, she’s not playing with you. So my name is Chandler Hickenbottom. You’ve probably seen me in the papers and on the news. My sister’s name is Patrice Figuereo. Same last name as my brother. And I’m telling you right now we are coming for you guys because we want answers. We want to know what’s happening with the budget, we want to know everything. Next meeting, you need to have people here that are going to be able to prosecute the police, that are going to answer our questions. It’s ridiculous. It’s a waste of our time, honestly. It really is a waste of our time that you’re sitting here, you want us to have a conversation with you, you want to answer questions, and you’re not answering anything. You’re just skating past all the questions and it’s ridiculous. It’s a rehearsed line, and it’s ridiculous. And you can shrug your shoulders, but it is. Every line that you are saying to us is rehearsed. And it’s ridiculous.
Robin Dalton: I just want to interrupt for a minute and say that I hear your anger and frustration loud and clear and I’m happy that you’re expressing it. All I can say is that this was for me to listen and understand concerns and come up with answers collectively with you together. I do not have the answers right now. I know that. I need to understand the problem before I can come up with the answer-
Chandler Hickenbottom: You know what the problem is though.
Robin Dalton: -and I understand the problem by having conversations like this one and hearing from people like you. And all I can say is that I am sincere in my effort to try to fix the problems I’m hearing and do better as a Police Department, but I can only do that if we can work together. And so I hope you are willing to do that with me and continue this dialog so we can turn the dialog and the anger and the frustration into something positive, into something productive, and have this be a community where everyone feels safe to live and work and visit.
Nedra Hickenbottom: And they should be able to. I shouldn’t have to send-
Robin Dalton: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Nedra Hickenbottom: – my kid out of the house and worry about them getting pulled over by your policemen for no reason because they’re Black.
Robin Dalton: Listen, I do not want to live in a community where anyone says that about their children, especially someone who is Black. I do not want that in this community. And I promise, I will do my absolute best to take this issue and address it and move it forward so you live in a community that you feel safe in, that you feel your children are safe in.
Nedra Hickenbottom: Okay. Well, I’m going to keep you to it.
Robin Dalton: You should keep me to it.
Nedra Hickenbottom: I’m going to hold you to it. And everybody else in that room.
Robin Dalton: I expect you to keep me to it.
Nedra Hickenbottom: Everybody else in that room that heard my voice.
Chandler Hickenbottom: Everybody that’s being silent right now. And what I want right now is for you to go back to my brother who has some very great things to say.
Robin Dalton: Okay, is he back on the call? Because we also have- we have a lot of people on that have questions, comments-
Chandler Hickenbottom: Yes, I understand that. Everyone is giving them his time. If you’ve looked in the comments, most people have said that they want to give away their time to him.
Robin Dalton: So, just so you know, I am, honestly- I am, like, probably ten feet from the computer. That’s the only way we could get all three of us on, so I can’t see the comments, but if you want to go back to Lexis, I’m happy to hear from him again.
Chandler Hickenbottom: Thank you.
Nedra Hickenbottom: Thank you.
Robin Dalton: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Lisa: Do you see him?
Robin Dalton: Lexis, we’re looking for you.
Lexis Figuereo: Do you see me? Can you hear me?
Robins Dalton: Yes, we can hear you.
Lexis Figuereo: Like my shirt? Black Lives Matter. Yes.
Robin Dalton: Yes.
Lexis Figuereo: Yes. What are you doing to show that you are supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement? What have you done? I haven’t seen any banners anywhere in town, I haven’t seen any flags saying that you support the Black Lives Matter Movement and that the Black people have just as much rights as anybody else and that you care about that. That’s easy things to do. A lot of cities have done it. A lot of cities have painted the streets. A lot of cities have done a lot of things. That’s just fluff. I don’t even care about that, but that’s just a sign of even caring at all. You don’t even get that. I haven’t gotten that yet. But, yeah, I’m-
Robin Dalton: There is actually, just-
Lexis Figuereo: Nope. Can I finish? Can I finish? Is that the Chief of Police right there? Who is that? Who is up there?
Chief Crooks: Yep.
Lexis Figuereo: You are very silent, Chief. You have nothing to say about these police issues that we’re talking about? You are the head of police, right? She’s over you, but you are the head of the police, right? You’re the boss, right? You’re the boss. So when these cops are doing these things to these Black young men, and you’re doing nothing about it, you should be held accountable as well as the officers that are doing these things. I have heard of three cases now that have happened in the last week since my protest that have been nothing but disgusting from your department. You have harmed people. I have heard you have forced people to get adrenaline shots that were a little bit intoxicated. I have all the pictures and the facts of everything. They both have complaints on you right now. You know about them. It happened Wednesday night. A complaint on you guys as well as Schenectady Police Department because both departments abused this young man. And what are you doing? Like I said, you’re not doing anything to do the policies. You’re not- you don’t have to tell me what policy you’re doing right now, but what you can tell me is what you’re going to do. You should be able to tell me, like, “Hey people are doing this, we’re going to fire some people. We’re going to fire some people. We’re going to go through this, we’re going to do some investigations, we’re going to see what’s going on.” It’s not- you don’t have to figure out what the problem is, you been know what the problem is. The problem has been forever. The problem has been that your police treat Black people like they are nothing. And that’s that. And just the other night, and that was yesterday actually, when I was on Caroline Street, right in front of Dango’s, two of your officers, two with their trucks, came by me, flashed their high beams on me. I walked up to the officer, asked him why he had the high beams on me and he said that he couldn’t see me, said that I wasn’t walking in the crosswalk at one o’clock in the morning. There is no crosswalk right there. I was walking across from D’Andrea’s over to Dango’s to have myself a beverage. So, once again, I should be able to do that. I work at Solevo, I’m one of the only Black servers/bartenders, so you’ve seen me before, I’m sure. I’m the only one. I’m the only one. So, the fact that you act like you didn’t know me, once again, just shows that you are playing games with these people. And the fact that the Chief has nothing to say about his officers doing what they’re doing to me and what my mother said what she said, you still didn’t say anything. You’re sitting there in silence. Silence. What do you got to say, Chief? Let’s say something. You wanted to meet- you wanted to meet with me in person. That’s what you said in front of the people.
Chief Crooks: Will you give me a minute to talk?
Lexis Figuereo: Yep, let’s go.
Chief Crooks: First of all, I didn’t want to interrupt you. I was letting you speak.
Lexis Figuereo: Perfect. Perfect.
Chief Crooks: Secondly, I had Lieutenant Seals(?) has reached out to you [indiscernible] to have a conversation with me, because you were busy. You admit it.
Lexis Figuereo: You did. You did.
Chief Crooks: [indiscernible] didn’t tell me what’s happening, and hear your point of view on it. The whole point of this conversation today is to listen, okay? Anybody who is treated unfairly, they can make a complaint within the department. You’re referring to an incident that occurred the other day before use of force got mentioned earlier. We already have an investigation going on with that incident.
Lexis Figuereo: I know. An internal investigation, right? And internal investigation. See, that’s the problem. I don’t want just an internal investigation because your internal investigations, you guys are compl-
Robin Dalton: Lexis-
Lexis Figuereo: -you guys-
Robin Dalton: I’m going to-
Lexis Figuereo: -When you mur-
Robin Dalton: I’m going to interrupt you for a second.
Lexis Figuereo: – when you [indiscernible]. No. No. When you murdered him-
Robin Dalton: No, no, no, listen. Because we-
Lexis Figuereo: -No. You guys [indiscernible] murdered-
Robin Dalton: -We’d like to see a lot-
Lexis Figuereo: -No. No. He was murdered-
Robin Dalton: -I just want you to-
Lexis Figuereo: – See?
Robin Dalton: – finish your thought, okay?
Lexis Figuereo: When you murdered Darryl Mount, when you guys murdered Darryl Mount, and that’s another thing, at the protest, I asked some of the inspectors or detectives that were at the thing, I asked him — and I actually have his name and badge number and everything else if you need that as well — I asked him, “What happened with Darryl? Why did you guys do this?” And he said, “Why did he run?” That’s what your officer said. He didn’t say, “I can’t talk about the case,” he said, “Why did he run?” And then he tried to intimidate me and told me that I should be scared of the police. I told him that [Darryl] was scared. [The officer] said, “You guys should be scared of us.” And I said, “I have no reason to be scared of you.” And that’s recorded. I put that on Facebook. Everybody’s seen all these things. Once again, we’re in the social media world right now. You have seen these things. You guys know. Stop acting like you’re unaware of these things. These complaints have been going on, this is not the first time — not because of George Floyd — that’s not the only reason this has been going on. I’ve been treated like this since the 90’s. From the same department. So make a change and stop saying you don’t know what the problem is. The problem is your police. And also how you guys are using your funds. Stop using your funds for horses. Don’t have horses up there. What do you need horses for? There’s nothing going on in this town. You’re on horses and there’s no crime here, alright. You just said there hasn’t been a shooting since the 90’s. There’s no crimes! So don’t worry about having that many police officers on as well. And the other day, yes, the State Troopers were there, the New Y- the State Police were there, the Park-
Robin Dalton: [indiscernible]
Lexis Figuereo: –No, I’m talking. The Park Police were there. SSPD were there, and the Saratoga Springs Sherifs. So why did you need that many people? Twenty-one officers. I have everything on videotape. Everything on videotape. And your officers also tried to intimidate me when I was there as well because your officers have been trying to intimidate me since the thing’s been going on. You guys all know who I am. I been all over the news and the newspapers and everything else. You know who I am. You’ve seen me, I’ve been in the middle of the street. You’ve seen me-
Robin Dalton: Lexis, listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. I’m going to stop you.
Lexis Figuereo: -having this meeting because of me.
Robin Dalton: Listen. I just need you to listen to me for a second. You obviously have a lot of talk- a lot to talk about. There is a lot of issues being touched on that I want to address. We have 15 other people here who want to talk. What I want to do is invite you to come in and have a conversation with us. We can Facebook Live the whole thing, we can make it public, we’ll do whatever you want, but you need to come in to continue this conversation with us. I need to move on, however, and get to the other 15 people who have been waiting for an hour and 15 minutes to say something. So, thank you for joining us, thank you for your comments, I hear your anger, I hear your frustration.
[Lexis is muted. He can be seen speaking directly to his camera. It looks like he is saying, “Can I say something? Can I say one more word?”]
Robin Dalton: And let’s continue the conversation, okay?
[It looks like Lexis says one last time, “Can I say one more word?” before realizing he’s been muted. He waves to the camera. It looks like he says, “Okay.”]