The Public Safety Department issued a press release and supporting videos which are available on the city website [JK: There is an additional video not in the press release that that the “supporting videos” link goes to]. The release and videos are meant to supplement the original July 31 release regarding the events of July 30 involving All of Us and Back the Blue.
The release clarifies a number of outstanding issues:
- Back the Blue had submitted the required documents for a rally and for a march down Broadway. I interpret this as a response to criticism by All of Us that the Back the Blue was allowed access to the streets whereas they were not.
- Prior to the Back the Blue rally the police were monitoring social media and found that All of Us planned to counter demonstrate. The release refers to a post in which the group asserted “It’s time to show them we really mean business. ” The release makes apparent that the department viewed potential clash between All of Us and Back The Blue as grave. They cite this concern as the reason they sought assistance from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police, and the State Park Police.
- By 6:30 the opposing groups were in Congress Park. “From 6:30 to 7:45 tensions were high, words were exchanged, but the groups were separated by a wall of police officers and two SSPD horses.”
- The sheriff’s department vehicle that was referenced by some as a “tank” is a “…light tactical vehicle used as a personnel and equipment carrier for the tactical team.” The vehicle has been positioned at events including “…large protests, large special events, and all emergency management details such as the Whitney and the Travers (Saratoga Race Course Races). The release notes that the city police rely on outside available resources to supplement them to deal with large events.
- Three persons were arrested. The release does not indicate what they were charged with.
a. 16 year old female from Saratoga Springs was arrested at 8:48. “…Issued an appearance ticket, and released to her grandfather at 9:43 PM when he arrived at the police station.”
b. 17 year old male from Saratoga Springs was arrested at 8:48. “…refused to cooperate with police. Once his age and identity were determined he was transported to his parents at 11:59 and issued an appearance ticket.”
c. 19 year old Male, Andre Simmons from Schenectady. “…arrested 8:49 and released 9:24 on an appearance ticket.”
7. The release asserts that intelligence collected by “outside agencies” reported that “one of the protesters associated with ‘BLM’ and ‘All of Us’ was armed with a handgun and agitators from out of the area were going to be involved.” They note that some of the “protesters were wearing bullet proof vests and duty belts containing pepper spray.”
8. The release contains a run on sentence which appears to address the ordinance carried for the purpose of crowd control. “The use of OC Spray [pepper spray in an aerosol bottle] and pepper projectiles is on the lower end of the Use of Force Continuum and may be used to bring an individual or group of individuals under control when they are about to or are engaging in violent behavior.”
9. “The chief of Police authorized the use of pepper projectiles once the situation started turning violent as shown in video 7.” (Labeled “Protest Arrest”).
10. “Zero injuries were reported from the events detailed above.”
I will be posting an analysis of the release and videos in another blog shortly.