SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Following an arrest being captured on camera, which was viewed thousands of times on social media, and the Syracuse Police Department’s review of the incident, several prominent community members are raising what they consider a disconnect between police and the community.
Specifically, some leaders are concerned about the department’s “Use of Force” policy and the way police handled the controversial loud music arrest on Grace Street on May 31.
When it first happened, Common Council President Helen Hudson says she was “disturbed” by the “excessive” use of force.
Mayor Ben Walsh and Chief Kenton Buckner met with Councilor Hudson, and others, before making the results of the review available to the public.
Hudson tells NewsChannel 9 she’s satisfied that the police department is updating its policy but wants to make more changes as she combs through the new police-worn body camera footage of the arrest, which may provide added insight into the arrest.
The City of Syracuse will host a community forum on June 28th to discuss the new use of force policy with community members. NewsChannel 9 will post the time and date once that information becomes available.
NewsChannel 9’s Jennifer Sanders received this statement from the NAACP:
The Syracuse Onondaga NAACP commends Chief Kenton Buckner for his review of this unfortunate incident. The arrest of Shaolin Moore on Grace Street did not aid in bridging the gap between members of law enforcement and the community. However, we believe actions taken today are a hopeful step in the right direction.
The NAACP appreciates the transparency the Police Department has exhibited and looks forward to reviewing the body camera video. We also applaud the newly revised use of force policy as it contains several improvements over its prior policy, including encouraging de-escalation.
The image of a young man being dragged out of a car by his neck for a noise ordinance violation is jarring. Watching several officers dogpile on top of him, while one officer used two hands to hold his head to the payment is difficult to observe. While it has been determined the use of force was lawful, the underlying question of whether it was necessary or appropriate on a minor traffic violation has been left out of the equation. Hopefully, the new use of force policy will prompt those questions and produce better answers.
We continue to raise concerns regarding the detainment of the passenger, (***name not reported by NewsChannel 9***). While we understand the Police Department’s explanation that (***his passenger***) was ordered to put down his phone so that he could be detained without a weapon in his hand, thus far there is no reasonable explanation as to what crime he committed, as the passenger of the car, to be handcuffed. This unfortunately leaves the impression that he was detained and handcuffed for simply being in the car and recording the interaction. In this day and age where citizens feel compelled to record police interactions, the Police Department should avoid issuing orders that leave the impression a person does not have a right to record such interactions.
Incidents like the Grace Street arrest only serve to highlight the need for a diverse well-trained police department to serve and protect. As noted in our June 4, 2019 letter, we do not agree with the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s resolve to end the consent decree governing the hiring practices of the police department. We must all stand together to support the decree and engage in a community effort to rebuild and diversify our police department. We are pleased to join the City in this endeavor.
The NAACP will continue to be a strong voice when it comes to community law enforcement. We will count on Mayor Walsh and Chief Buckner to continue this open dialogue. To the brave men and women who choose to protect and serve the community, we recognize, appreciate and depend on you to continue to work together to create trust. Let us go forward together to a better future.
On June 27th we invite the public to join us at St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse to hear the NAACP presentation: “Is History Repeating Itself? The Ongoing Civil Rights Struggle In Our Own Backyard.”
Linda Brown-Robinson, President
Syracuse Onondaga NAACP
***Because the passenger of Yaolin Moore’s SUV was not charged, it is NewsChannel 9’s policy not to publicly name him in the reporting of this story. His name has been removed from the NAACP statement.***
Follow Jennifer Sanders on Twitter: @JSandersNC9