A Pattern of Police Violence, Civil and Human Rights Violations in Troy, NY

In 2010, Troy PD officers were beating Shakim Miller while James Foley recorded the incident with his cell phone. Troy Officer Pollay attacked Foley, causing numerous serious injuries, including broken bones. Foley later sued the officer, winning a $90,000 settlement, during which Troy Police Chief acknowledged a pattern of misconduct and requested an investigation.

In 2011, John Larkins was thrown to the ground, tasered, and then pepper sprayed while cuffed inside a police cruiser. This was a result of a false arrest at a hospital on charges for which he was later acquitted. This use of force was ruled justifiable by internal investigators, and Troy Mayor Rosamilia pledged “vigorously defending against [the open complaint filed by Larkins].”

In 2012, Brian Houle was attacked in his home by a Troy PD officer following an argument between the two on Facebook. Despite receiving numerous injuries following the unauthorized entry of the officer into Houle’s home, the internal investigation ruled this was an acceptable use of the officer’s authority and physical force.

In 2013, Lawrence Nesmith was beaten in a holding cell at the Troy Police Department. City officials have defended the actions of the officers involved despite community demand for further investigation and for release of the surveillance footage of the incident, neither of which are proceeding satisfactorily.

Last week, Roshawon Donley was one of at least a half dozen patrons of African descent of the nightclub, Kokopellis on 4th Street in downtown Troy, New York, who were aggressively attacked by Troy PD officers and beaten with nightsticks. Extensive, multi-angle security camera and cell phone camera footage documenting the incident show several officers as aggressors against completely nonviolent people. Donley received numerous head wounds requiring emergency hospital treatment. The police chief and Mayor Rosamilia immediately responded that the use of force was lawful and appropriate before any official investigation could even begin. Some City Council members have called for an independent investigation, recognizing an inability and unwillingness for existing institutions to proceed fairly and justly.

Just like when Donley was brutalized, Troy Police repeatedly struck with batons an unarmed man, Marquese Devon Hill. As did Donley in the Kokopellis incident, Hill received baton blows to his head, demonstrating that Troy Police use deadly force as standard practice against unarmed people of color, in situations where the threat level is inappropriate to justify such tactics.

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