In reversal Sheehan says police reform group meetings will be public

In a stark reversal Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced today that the next series of meetings of Albany’s police reform collaborative will be live streamed  and comments made to the task force about policing made public.

Sheehan and the collaborative were roundly criticized by activists, the community and the press after WAMC reported the seven meetings would not be live streamed. 

David Galin, a spokesperson for Sheehan, tweeted that he hoped “the media would respect” that some members of the public might not want their testimony aired publicly. Which in itself seemed contradictory as any testimony would have been made in front of the 33-member Collaborative. 

Galin argued to WAMC that the meetings don’t fall under public meetings law and therefore could be closed to press. 

When this reporter commented on Twitter that it seemed the city was not complying with the transparency required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that mandates these collaboratives across the state Galin replied:

Advocates say they saw the move to block press and public as a way to blunt more negative press for the Albany Police Department following the revelation of a video of one officer saying that Black people are “the worst fucking race.” 

Luke Grandis of VOCAL NY says streaming the meetings is a step in the right direction but there is more to do to reach actual accessibility.  “Until people without internet access are prioritized, this Collaborative will not be able to say they’ve truly included community input. We want to know how people without internet access are being included in these decision-making processes. Closed captioning must also be included in all upcoming virtual meetings; otherwise, any and all community members with impaired hearing abilities are still being shut out entirely.”

Asked about the entire ordeal one member of the collaborative who asked to remain anonymous had this to say: ”

“The organization of these public forums has been totally mishandled by the city and a number of working group chairs who voted initially to make the meetings private and inaccessible to the public. Their response to this outrage has also been inadequate in my opinion and we are being asked to not respond at all to community questions and comments during the forum. We have also been encouraged to not disclose our personal affiliations during our introductions on these forums.” 

Here is the info you need to comment about police reform and watch the meetings: 

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