Black Lives Matter Holds Peaceful Protest in Albany

A crowd gathered in Albany's Dana Park for a vigil in solidarity with the latest victims of officer-involved shootings.

One by one, attendees read names of black men killed by police officers, the event organized by the Upstate New York chapter of Black Lives Matter. It's an occurrence they say is happening too often.

“In this country, every 28 hours or less, an African-American man, woman or child, or Latino woman or child, or native woman or child is killed by law enforcement,” said Black Lives Matter spokesperson Rosa Clemente.

This week's killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile gave her reason to speak, along with several other attendees.

"I think we have to look at the systems that particularly dehumanize what we say are black and brown people,” said Clemente. "No matter what degree, no matter what attainment, we're often seen as a threat.”

"The act of one lone man who happens to be black cannot disparage an entire community and a community of people who have been organizing against violence in this country,” said Clemente, referring to the suspect in the killings of five Dallas law enforcement officers Thursday night.

According to investigators, 25-year-old black veteran Micah Johnson said he was angry about recent killings by police and that he wanted to kill whites, particularly white officers.

“It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my career,” said Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox. "To have officers ambushed that were there protecting protestors and helping those protestors out, it’s a horrible tragedy and it’s heartbreaking.”

Johnson was killed after shootings at a demonstration in Dallas, but the demonstration in Albany was peaceful. That’s the only way organizers of Black Lives Matter said they condone action in the wake of the shootings.

“I think that the officers being killed is horrific,” said Clemente. “I think a lot of people could have been hurt.”

“We can get past this by working together. We have to,” said Cox. “It’s imperative for our entire country that we work together and solve our problems.”

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