The City of Kingston Police Department is under fire for two incidents of excessive force that were brought to light earlier this month. Fabian Marshall, 27, and Adrin Broadhead, 24, gave their accounts before the Kingston Police Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
During this meeting, Callie Jayne, the lead organizer for Citizen Action of New York, called upon the police commission to be transparent and meet publicly with both men as they gave their accounts rather than come to a decision out of the public eye.
Marshall was on his way to work in September 2015 when he was approached by Kingston Police Officer Jeremy Arciello and asked to step onto the sidewalk. The incident then escalated to violence with Marshall being forced to the ground, handcuffed and tased 21 times during the encounter.
Footage of the incident was retrieved from both Marshall’s cell phone and the officer’s dash cam. The footage was combined by Citizen Action of New York and released to the public. Within weeks the video went viral with over 300,000 views, according to the Hudson Valley News Network.
According to his account, Marshall matched the description of a man police were looking who had knocked a cyclist down earlier that day, but Marshall was not involved in the incident in question. Marshall was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration; he was found not guilty of resisting arrest, but was convicted on Nov. 3 of misdemeanor obstruction of governmental administration. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8.
Broadhead was stopped by Kingston City Police in July outside the 440 Pizzeria on Broadway for violating the city’s open container ordinance. He claims it escalated to violence, with police attacking, pepper-spraying and tasering him as he was walking home from work, according to Hudson Valley News Network.
Both men filed formal complaints against the department on behest of Citizen Action of New York.
In a Hudson Valley News Network article the chief stated that less than six complaints have been filed against his force this year. He added that since he has been chief, there have been cases where officers have faced disciplinary action, including the termination of an off-duty officer last November.
According to Times Herald Record, Kingston Mayor Steve Nobel has vowed to review every instance involving use of force by city police in the wake of complaints about excessive force. He also stated that he would like to change how use-of-force complaints are reviewed and made public.
“After hearing these concerns, it is clear that there are some residents of Kingston who do not feel safe in our city and that feeling is shared disproportionately by people of color,” Noble said in the statement. “I think we can all agree this is unacceptable.”
Jayne told Times Herald Record that she believes these actions by Nobel are a step in the right direction.
“This isn’t a battle of us versus the mayor,” Jayne said. “We have to make sure the mayor and the police chief and the city attorney are not in a room with business owners making all these decisions. We are expecting to be included in those conversations and to have the people directly affected sitting around that table. We just have to keep moving forward.”
Nobel has also stated that he will also invite the New York Civil Liberties Union to meet with the city about legislative options and that he will expect the Police Commission to review existing use-of-force policies with an eye to changing them going forward.
“I believe in our police department, its leadership, and the officers who come to work every day,” he said. “But know that police misconduct and excessive use of force will not be tolerated.”