police brutality

James Corrigan/WAER News

Race relations became a top issue on the minds of many around Central New York with local protests after the killing of George Floyd and police treatment of people of color.  In WAER’s Your Election Blueprint project, it was among the top interests of people heading into the election.  

“I'm like scared of here," said Deneka Delee.  "I have to watch my back and I wish all the shooting and and all this (stuff) has to stop. We have kids.”

You don't have to listen hard to hear their voices; You don't have to look hard to see their struggle

Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

  The 2020 Primary in New York this year fell in the midst of a global pandemic and a reckoning on police brutality in America. Voting by mail occurred in record numbers due to the threat of COVID-19 and youth in Syracuse led rallies for the current racial justice movement.



Governor Cuomo's Flickr page

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed several police reform measures into law Friday, and says he’ll withhold state funding from local police departments if they do not submit proof that they have worked with their communities to reconfigure their forces. Guests at the ceremony included the mothers of young African American men killed in a police encounter, and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse police continue their investigation into the officer-involved shooting early Thursday morning that injured a 23-year-old man.  Officers responded to Mark Ave when the department’s shot spotter technology indicated multiple shots fired. 


There’s a growing movement to defund the police, after the death of George Floyd and incidences of police brutality in the nationwide protests that came in the aftermath.   New York State’s leaders say they would rather restructure the forces than cut their budgets.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The independent panel that investigates allegations of police misconduct in Syracuse is also trying to change the relationship between police and the community.  The Citizen Review Board’s primary role is to review complaints and make disciplinary, policy, training, and other recommendations to the police chief.  But CRB administrator Ranette Releford says there also has to be a change in the mindset of officers, understanding that black and brown communities feel fear anytime they call the police.

WAER file photo

Central New York’s delegation of state lawmakers has been busy in Albany this week voting on several pieces of legislation aimed at reforming police conduct.  The final bills should clear the senate Wednesday. 

New York is one of the first to take up such measures amid protests here and nationwide calling for change after the death of George Floyd.  Most of the bills have been passed by the assembly for years, and this is the first time they’re seeing daylight in the senate.  Senator Rachel May says people of all stripes seem to be questioning police behavior.


The mass demonstrations in Syracuse and across the nation calling for changes in police conduct are exactly the kind of gatherings that health experts have warned could cause a spike in COVID-19 infections.  Chief of the Infectious disease division at SUNY Upstate Dr. Steven Thomas says protesters still run the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 even as the number of cases continues to diminish. 

WAER File Photo


Downtown Syracuse streets remained mostly quiet throught the evening after the large Black Lives Matter protest crowd dispersed in the late afternoon.  Syracuse Police sent out a message through social media confirming protests had stayed peaceful.

Scott Willis/WAER News

The ongoing protests in Syracuse and many other cities are calling out for change in police policies on conduct, use of force, and violence.  Friday, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Police Chief Kenton Buckner addressed some of the questions that are coming from protestors.