By Cassandra Harris-Lockwood
In the wake of the recent police violence upon Kerwin Taylor and subsequent marches, rumors and rallies regarding the incident, on Monday at 2PM September 21 at 2P.M. at the Black Lives Matter Mural @Kemble Park – Corner of James & Kemble Street, Utica a group of Utica’s Black Leadership Collective and their allies joined in solidarity for the presentation to the public of the following statement regarding the Utica Police Department and law enforcement agencies as they regard the Black community.
Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, Freddie Hamilton, Patrick Johnson and Rev. Sharon Baugh addressed the media and the attendees.
The following is the statement which was mutually agreed upon by the Black Leadership Collective…
“In the midst of local actions responding to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203: New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, we applaud the Utica Police Department, Police Chief Mark Williams, Utica Mayor Palmieri and Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara for the swift action taken as the result of the violent misconduct and police brutality inflicted upon Kerwin Taylor which occurred at the hands of the now suspended Utica Police Officer.
There is a transformation going on across our nation and Utica is lighting the way for police departments across the state.
We as Utica’s Black activists and leaders of our community are undergoing a process in relationship to our local police force and other government officials.
While we welcome and appreciate our allies, we find it unacceptable for others, who don’t share our agenda to attempt to override or even hijack this critically important moment in time between the local Black community here in Utica and law enforcement. This press conference is intended to, once and for all, distinguish the local Black Lives Matter movement in Utica from the radical elements who continue to insert themselves into BLM events with, it seems, an agenda to exacerbate tensions between our community and law enforcement.
New York is a state of laws. This moment is a unique opportunity to enhance and build a healthy relationship with the Utica Police Department, law enforcement in general and other government officials. We will work through the process and adhere to the law as we await the final determination on the Felitto matter. Through this process we anticipate our community developing a clear path to Justice for All.”