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Politics & Government

Syracuse PBA Asks Protesters to Help Police by Leaving Scene if it Becomes Violent

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The union that represents Syracuse Police officers is asking those protesting downtown to leave the scene as soon as it turns violent.  President of the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association Jeff Piedmonte in a release asked the media to spread the word as protests entered a fourth day Tuesday evening.  

"Once the violence starts the entire event is no longer a peaceful protest, and peaceful protesters should immediately leave for their own safety as well as our safety.  If the only people remaining at a disturbance are the protestors causing the disturbance we can better handle the violent situations.   Also, when protesters cheer on the violent acts they no longer are just protesters but are instigators." 

Saturday night's largely peaceful protest took an ugly turn when some began breaking windows in municipal and business buildings, and looted stores.  Piedmonte says 5o officers remained at S. State and E. Genesee Streets to monitor dozens of protestors while the vandalism went on. 

"If we could have left that scene, we may have prevented damage to some of the 18 businesses damaged by criminals."

In his release, Piedmonte is careful to note that all of law enforcement acknowledges that George Floyd should not have died during his arrest in Minneapolis.  

"This is clear to any police officer who wanted to watch the arrest for what it was.  We are trained to place a knee on a suspect's shoulder blade to control them, but not on their neck.  One of the other three officers also should have intervened to sit George Floyd up once he was handcuffed and under control.  This prevents positional asphyxia from chest compressions, which can occur just by leaving a person face down handcuffed behind their back.  Our officers are trained in this situation in dealing with arrestees."

Piedmonte says he worried that calls by Governor Cuomo to investigate each use of force in New York City will embolden suspects to be more violent against police.  He cited incidents where police officers are being attacked across the country, including an officer shot in the head Monday in Las Vegas, and two officers run down in Buffalo.