No person should have to live in a simulated war zone where they may be subjected to physical and or emotional danger at the hands of any law enforcement agency for the purposes of training in a realistic setting. But that's what HUD and the Albany Housing Authority let happen to my daughter, my community, and me.
On March 21, 2013 Residents of the Albany Housing Authority were terrorized by local law enforcement conducting an unannounced tactical training of a hostage situation. Families were confined to their homes and threatened with arrest while law enforcement used simulated ammunition, flash grenades and real tear gas turning the community into a simulated war zone.
My 4-year-old daughter was one of the many children at home during the incident, which left damaged property, fake blood and shell casing all over our community. When the police returned to clean up, she was pysically shaking from fear at the site of them. The Albany Police Department has apologized, but HUD has stayed silent.
HUD’s mission is to utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. Tactical training does not support that mission or fall under the scope or purpose of HUD. Federally subsidized housing is for the benefit of the consumer, not local government agencies who need a training ground for their war games.
The potential damage to children, their families and other residents far outweighs the need of any government agency to train in a real world setting that terrorizes not only HUD residents, but the entire surrounding community.
HUD needs to create and implement a national policy banning all such training as it is inconsistent with HUD’s mission and contributes to a deterioration of quality of life for HUD residents and the surrounding communities. It is in HUD's power to provide basic human right protections to its consumers and its resident’s nationwide and we are calling on HUD to do so.