(A note from Troy DSA: Joining the Troy Partnership for Black Lives, we have signed onto this letter expressing our collective outrage at Troy Police killing a community member in a car crash last week and TPD’s ongoing history of reckless, dangerous behavior—this is police violence. The full text of the statement is included below.)
We, the Troy Partnership for Black Lives, join our community in outrage to learn that another life has been lost due to the reckless driving of a Troy Police officer. Our deepest condolences and support go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and community. When will this City hold the Troy Police Department accountable for the violence they perpetuate on the very community they are supposed to protect and serve?
Troy is not any different than Memphis or Atlanta where police officers have murdered Black and Brown people. On Wednesday, February 22nd just before 1:00 a.m., a Troy Police officer crashed into the car of a valued community member and father of newborn twins. The Troy Police Department has a history of failing to respect the lives of our community and neighbors, especially the lives of Black and Brown community members. This murder indicates that the Troy Police Department has not changed the practices and culture that have led to the loss of life in the past. Just like other times when Troy police have violated the rights and the lives of our community members, the first response of city and police officials is denial of responsibility, often including false information, before a thorough investigation can be completed. This was the response that began the cover-up of the police murder of Edson Thevenin in 2016 by the Troy Police, Rensselaer County DA, the Troy City Council, and Mayor Madden.
The Troy Police officer was reportedly traveling at high speed through a dangerous intersection. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the officer acted with depraved indifference because his job as an officer and his responsibility as a human being was to do whatever was necessary in order not to harm or kill anyone with the lethal weapon of his car. The severity of the crash shows the sheer negligence of the officer, who drove with absolutely no concern for the safety of residents or the laws of New York State for emergency personnel. Unfortunately, this is not isolated behavior on the part of the TPD.
Troy PD has a history of reckless accidents:
- February 22, 2023 – Hoosick and 15th St – TPD killed a local father and respected worker
- February 2023 – TPD entered an intersection speeding without a siren or slowing and nearly hit a car with a mother and her infant
- October 2021 – Middleburg St and 6th Ave – TPD ran a red light and totaled a car in the intersection
- June 2021 – 5th Avenue in Lansingburgh – TPD ran a red light and totaled a car in the intersection, but ticketed the driver for failure to yield
- January 2020 – TPD ran a red light totaling a work van in an intersection that sent the small business owner and father to Albany Medical Center with serious expenses, missed work, and a ticket for failing to yield to an officer despite video surveillance showing that TPD failed to slow while approaching a blind intersection
- July 2009 – a 5-year-old boy was killed by a TPD officer driving an unmarked SUV in South Troy
Long-standing community demands for deep changes in Troy policing policy and practices have been ignored by Mayor Madden, the Troy City Council, Troy Police, and the Rensselaer County DA for years. Troy needs accountability and transparency led by those who are directly impacted by police violence and negligence. This includes:
- an end to over-policing of Black and Brown communities,
- an end to harassment of Black and Brown youth,
- community-based alternatives to law enforcement in response to mental health and other crises,
- investments in resources for our communities instead of more investment in police – for example, getting the lead out of the water of all Troy households while prioritizing the most vulnerable households.
Instead of listening to the voices of community leaders, the city has offered us public relations campaigns to protect the Troy Police and City rather than the lives in our community. Just this month, the New York Civil Liberties Union won a lawsuit against the Troy Police Department for refusing to provide police officers’ disciplinary records as required by a recent reform to New York State law.
We do not want a kinder, gentler face on police violence. We do not want our taxes to fund TPD’s $19.5 million dollar budget. We want our children and families to be safe and community well-being to be prioritized by the entire city. We want Black Life to matter by divesting from police and investing in the support systems the community actually needs.
Troy for Black Lives
Democratic Socialists of America, Troy Chapter
Community Rising Project
Equality For Troy
Members of Ad Hoc Troy
Troy Area Labor Council AFL-CIO