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Public safety chair calls for patience in investigation of police use of force incident

Couselor Chol Majok at Syracuse Common Council Meeting. April 25, 2022. Syracuse, New York.
Maxwell Mimaroglu
Couselor Chol Majok at Syracuse Common Council Meeting. April 25, 2022. Syracuse, New York.

The Syracuse Police Department Monday released body warn camera footage of an incident downtown over the weekend where a woman was injured while being arrested. The chair of the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee is urging the public to let ongoing investigations play out.

Chol Majok sits on the Syracuse Police Reform and Reinvention Plan Oversight Committee in addition to serving on the Common Council. He said the community must allow time for a full investigation into the event shown on the video.

“Patience is a virtue. In this case, there is no amount of rushing, that is going to solve what has happened. And with objectivity, with facts, we'll get to the bottom of it,” Majok said.

Police claim the woman identified as Uniyah Chatman stole a tip jar from Nick's Tomato Pie in the early hours of Saturday morning. Police allege Chatman spit on an officer before being restrained. She’s then seen in the video of the arrest bleeding and was later taken to the hospital for her injuries.

Police Chief Joe Cecile said releasing the footage is an effort in transparency, but he would not answer questions from the media. Majok agreed with his decision to do so.

“From the video that I saw, Chief Cecile was right, to not take questions yet and my logic in that is, you don't want to put a such a sensitive case in public, yet, without all the facts in place," Majok said.

Cecile asks that anyone with video footage that shows additional angles of the incident contact the Syracuse Police Department or the Citizen Review Board.

The Citizen’s Review Board is conducting its own investigation in to the incident. In a Facebookpost Tuseday, the CRB said it will look at the totality of the circumstances and make a decision on the matter based upon current legislation.

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.