Troy residents calling for citizens review board

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – People in Troy continue to speak out about relations with the police after a report released by the attorney general on Wednesday.

Residents say the way to do this is to have a citizen review board.

Troy City Hall and officials continue to be under fire as people in the community demand to be heard and have a seat at the table.

Naomi Jaffe is with the Community Action Group- Justice for Dahmeek.

She’s one of many who wants a citizen review board to help advise city officials.

“We need a voice in relationship to everyday policing in addition to extreme policing.”

She says the officer-involved shootings of Dahmeek McDonald and Edson Thevenin, along with the recent report from the attorney general’s office, make the board a must.

“It really needs to be the community that’s on the receiving end of this policing.”

City Council President Carmella Mantello says such a board exists there’s just no one on it.

“I called for that review board and have the mayor fill the vacancies. The mayor is the only one that can fill those vacancies,” Mantello said.

The board was established back in the 90s, but right now, the eight seats are empty.

“It gets them involved. It’s a partnership. Listen, it’s not about us it’s not about them. It’s about all of us together.”

So NEWS10 ABC went to Troy City Hall to ask Mayor Patrick Madden why the board isn’t being used.

“No, we’re not going to wade into this right now.”

NEWS10 ABC was told the mayor would not take my questions because of current litigation. Something Mantello says isn’t transparent.

“If you want to be a public official do the right thing and be public,” Mantello said.

She says she doesn’t see an issue with reinstating the board.

“The community right now is asking for it, what’s the harm.”

Jaffe says the attitude from inside city hall is consistent and frustrating.

“It’s clear that the mayor doesn’t think there’s a problem. The people in the communities where kids are getting shot and abused think there’s a problem.”

And says now is the time for a change.

The mayor’s office says the citizen’s review board has been defunct several times since its inception but people asking for its return say it’s needed now more than ever.

The mayor’s office released this statement:

“Freedom of speech and respectful conversation are important parts of a functioning and open democracy. The City of Troy fully supports the public’s right to gather peacefully and express their opinions on issues involving our community.”

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