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Syracuse Black Lives Matter Movement Calls For Police Transparency

Annalisa Pardo

About 40 people with the Black Lives Matter Syracuse movement gathered outside the Federal Building Tuesday morning to protest what they said is too much secrecy within the city’s police department.

Herve Comeau is with Black Lives Matter and led part of Tuesday’s protest. He said he does not trust the Syracuse police department without knowing more about their operation.

“We’d like to see more accountability. We’d like to see more transparency. We don't think that the police department should be able to operate in secret.”

Protesters want officers to be held to higher standards, citing a recent example of former officer Chester Thompson, who was accused of engaging in sexual conduct on multiple occasions while on the job. After pleading guilty to some of the accusations, Thompson was counseled and eventually fired, but served no jail time.

Comeau said the system is “one-sided” in its transparency of citizens compared to police officers.

“When citizens come forward to file complaints with the CRB [Citizen Review Board] against police officers, their names are immediately released. This is not true in the police officers who are accused.”

Officers’ names are typically redacted or not publicized.  One protester said it’s not about the individual, it’s about the corrupt system, called for equal treatment of all citizens.

Credit Annalisa Pardo
Protesters held signs with names of people they said that were abused by the police.

“State violence affects women of color.  It affects black women. Black women are the largest group that are starting to go to jail.  The mass incarceration is not just a black male issue.  It's a Latino issue. It’s a black woman’s issue. It's an issue that affects more than just a certain population.”

The protesters said the violence and mistreatment also more disproportionately affect those in poverty.