BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Local activists are not letting go of their outrage over a controversial arrest that took place in Downtown Binghamton on New Year’s Day.
They held another rally outside of City Hall this morning.
It’s been nearly a month since multiple videos surfaced, showing a Binghamton police officer kneeling on the neck of 24-year-old Hamail Waddell.
Protestors were buoyed to hear that the New York State Attorney General’s office is investigating the arrest.
However, activists still feel that the officer, who has been placed on desk duty, should be suspended without pay or fired.
Protestors say that since the department has not suspended the officer, the city is attacking the right to life and liberty of everyone.
They say he violated the city’s use of force policy and the state’s Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Law.
Citizen Action organizer Salka Valerio says that the only reason this case is moving along is because of demands from the community.
“Let’s be honest, if we didn’t create pressure, and actually put this on the forefront, nobody would have ever knew about it. The AG’s office would have never pursued an investigation, the people from the state would have never did it, they would have left it internal and it would have just been hushed and it would have been quiet.”
On Monday, Binghamton City Council Democrats introduced legislation to bring in an independent party to conduct an investigation.
At Monday’s work session, the legislation was tabled after it failed to receive Republican support.
Mayor Jared Kraham says the BPD’s internal review is still underway, and that an additional investigation could interfere with the attorney general’s process.
Binghamton Councilwoman Aviva Friedman says that an independent investigation would eliminate potential conflicts of interest.
Valerio says that in the near future, Citizen Action will be hosting workshops focused around teaching bystander intervention and street medic practices.