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Syracuse Council calls for suspension of officer who pushed news photographer

Syracuse.com YouTube
A screenshot of Syracuse police officers from the Saturday, May 30 protest, which turned violent.

The Syracuse Common Council is unanimously calling for the immediate suspension of a Syracuse police officer that broke rank and pushed a Syracuse.com/The Post Standard news photographer to the ground during one of the city's protests against police brutality. It happened on the night when protests turned violent, windows were smashed and stores were looted.

The photographer https://youtu.be/1KDW8_8dVXg">captured the incident on his camera as police in riot gear moved in on protesters. It was reported the photographer had scrapes and bruises and two camera lenses were broken. But it’s also indicative of violent confrontations that have happened across the country between police, protesters and the media.

After some conversations, Syracuse councilors came together to condemn the officer at a council meeting. Council President Helen Hudson said this is nothing new.

“It’s been happening in our community on a regular basis for decades,” Hudson said. “At some point, we’re at a boiling point. And the people that are chosen to protect and serve, they have to do just that. As a council, it’s our jobs to ensure there has to be some kind of accountability.”

Hudson said the council is putting together legislation on the local level that will address police department oversight. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Police Chief Kent Buckner both apologized for the incident and an investigation is ongoing. Since the incident, protests have been largely peaceful in Syracuse, including a massive demonstration that drew thousands of people over the weekend.

Protests and COVID

There have been concerns that some of the protests that are bringing hundreds of people together at a time, can increase the spread of the coronavirus. But on Monday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said so far, so good.

"Right now, we have not seen any uptick from the original demonstration, the first Saturday, when folks were together protesting,” McMahon said. “There’s no indication there are any cases from that.”

Currently, the county is averaging six community spread cases a day, over the last week. McMahon said ten days can give you an idea if there is any impact from an individual event. He added officials will closely be looking at numbers ten days out from this past Saturday’s protest.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.