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Saratoga BLM activists reacts to AG report

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A preliminary report by the New York Attorney General’s office claims Saratoga Springs leaders violated the constitutional rights of Black Lives Matter protesters. On Thursday, BLM activists stood on the front steps of city hall to respond to the alleged violations that occurred during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

According to the AG’s office, the 28-page report lays out the mistakes made by city leaders when BLM members were arrested following protests in 2020 and 2021.

“I am happy that this report has shed light on the corruption within the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the City of Saratoga Springs.” said Chandler Hickenbottom, co-founder of Saratoga BLM.

The report states that officials, specifically former Mayor Meg Kelly, former Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton and the former Chief of Police Shane Crooks “implemented an unconstitutional official policy of retaliating against BLM protesters based on their speech.”

“These are not abstract issues. These are real. It affected real people’s lives. It causes real harm to real people when democracy or the promise of democracy is betrayed as it was.” said Mark Mishler, the attorney representing Saratoga BLM.

Lexis Figueroa, co-founder BLM Saratoga says the group may take legal action. “I’m going to be speaking to my lawyer, and if it’s okay, I’m going to be filing a complaint. We’re going to be looking for charges, we’re looking for justification, we’re looking for justice. You see, Robin Dalton had a blood lust, we have justice lust.” said Figueroa.

Figueroa says he is willing to work with the new city administration, but before that could happen, he’s demanding one thing. “First step would be acceptance of what actually happened. If they can’t accept what happened and they can’t accept that they did these things, we can’t go forward.” said Figueroa.

The AG gave recommendations, and Saratoga BLM co-founder Samira Sangare focused in on one of them.  She says it’s something they heat too often with no change.  “I’ll point out number seven on the recommendations, how the SSPD internal affairs and officer discipline process should be improved. We’ve heard that before with Darryl Mount.” said Sangare.

Again, the report is preliminary, and in the next few months, the AG’s office will be holding a public listening session before submitting their final report.

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