Ban military style force by police in Albany

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Tear gas, rubber bullets, helicopters, flash bangs, snipers, and other use of military style police response, are of tremendous danger to Albany residents- especially during COVID 19, a respiratory pandemic.

Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned from use in war. Common side effects from inhaling tear gas are chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and skin irritation. The extent of long-term damage caused by tear gas on children, the sick, and the elderly is largely unknown simply because it has not been studied in the US.

These tactics are being used in the neighborhoods of Albany where majority Black and Brown people live, at exactly the time when residents are seeking more accountability from city leadership and the police department. They were used recklessly, even on residential streets where no protests were occurring. 

In Albany's South End and Arbor Hill neighborhoods - where residents are 3 to 10 times more likely to have asthma than the average American - tear gas was used extensively on crowds, in the middle of the night when many residents had their windows open. People with asthma and other pre-existing conditions are especially prone to severe and even deadly reactions to tear gas. When the APD used tear gas and other tactics on May 30 and in to the early hours of May 31, and then again on June 1, peaceful protestors, bystanders, and residents (including babies and children) at home, asleep in bed, were all harmed. 

Military style police response only adds to the stress our families and residents face, and many in the neighborhood have already experienced trauma associated with unjust policing. 

Banning the use of militarized police response is a necessary step towards protecting our neighborhoods from police violence and protecting the right to protest in this city- particularly when unjust policing is at the center of the protests. Tear gas is banned internationally, it should be done in our own backyard too.