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Barbara Lombardo writes about journalisml, local news and anything else that strikes her fancy. She is executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News, sister papers in the Digital First Media family. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A brutal fall in a run from police is a far cry from police brutality

       The pursued man reached the  dead end at right and jumped
onto the small roof and landing,
which ends abruptly at scaffolding and a 19-foot drop.

There’s no excuse for police brutality.
And, as far as we can tell, in the case involving Darryl Mount, the young man in a coma at Albany Medical Center after a downtown police chase last week, there wasn’t brutality.
If you know otherwise, where are you?
Here’s how the Saratoga Springs Police Department tells it: At about 3 a.m. Aug. 31, officers saw a man smash a woman’s head into a wall outside a Caroline Street bar. They chased him up Broadway and around the corner to the new alley between Cantina’s and Northshire Books, tried unsuccessfully to stop him with oral commands and Tasers, lost sight of him, and found him behind the building below construction scaffolding. At 3:08 they called for emergency medical assistance for a “male fallen approximately 15 feet (with a) head injury,” and initially handcuffed and then uncuffed him. The fire department medical responders took the unconscious man by ambulance to the hospital.
The day of the incident, someone who knows the family emailed me and said the woman’s head wasn’t smashed and she will say so; that witnesses saw the man interacting with police, and that pictures show injuries inflicted by police.
“The family just wants the truth to be told and justice to be served,” the family friend said.
Me too.
I gave her my mobile phone number. Nothing.
Instead, family members and 50 or more others marched outside City Hall to decry police brutality for which no evidence has been produced.
Then, on Saturday, someone who knows Mount told someone who told me that someone has video showing police taking him away, proving he was beaten senseless between his arrest and landing in the hospital.
But police say he was taken away by ambulance, unconscious.
If you were on Caroline Street and Broadway at 3 a.m. last Saturday and have a story to tell, The Saratogian wants to hear it. So does the police chief, who publicly said he will personally talk to anyone who comes forward (584-1800). People can leave messages at www.saratogapolice.org or call anonymously at 584-TIPS.
To recreate the scene of the incident, walk to the dead-end of the alley where police pursued Mount, as I did, and you’ll see the railing he climbed over and the small roof onto which he ran. To see more, you have to walk around the block to Putnam Street and into the alley between Gaffney’s and Izumi to the rear of The Washington Building, which houses Northshire Books and is still under construction. You can see the landing ends abruptly, and the options are to leap onto the Gaffney’s building fire escape or a fall through the scaffolding to the ground more than 15 feet below.
Police say the head-smashing is on video, which The Saratogian has requested under the state Freedom of Information Law.
We don’t know Mount’s prognosis, though one of his aunts said Saturday that he is off the ventilator and a barbecue fundraiser to assist with his medical bills will take place at the Eagles Club on Crescent Avenue near Lake Lonely on Sunday, Sept. 22. An account has also been set up for him through the Trustco banks.
We don’t wish the injuries Darryl Mount suffered on anyone. And we do want justice served.
If there’s more to the story than a chase and a dreadful fall, let’s hear it.
Barbara Lombardo is managing editor of The Saratogian. Her blog, Fresh Ink, is at www.saratogian.com.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The facts will probably be played out in Federal Court and I would assume by this time any and all witnesses cannot make statements. Your reporter was at the Council Meeting when the so called victim spoke out and reflected no injury of any kind and compromised the police version. Either way the media in many cases makes decisions to become judge and jury. In this case the media should allow the process to continue not by the Public Safety Commissioner but by a Federal Court If two police within at lest 15 feet of the individual cannot taser him than I propose they need more training. Too many unknowns especially for the media to be involved to this extent. It is the medias job to report not investigate. The Saratogian could compromise the case by doing this. I am sure you are aware of that. Step aside and allow the professionals to do their job.

September 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM 
Blogger Eyeinthesky said...

Barb, Great post. You rose above all. You demonstrated several things here. First you dared to comment and that shows courage from a person in your position. Second, you determined a current synopsis based only on the facts and the knowledge available. Next you challenged anyone with real info to come forward. You are not attacking anyone’s character or being mean in any way. Your paper has advertised the benefit for this young mans medical costs. You gave the community an opportunity to comment and suspended that opportunity when certain subjects abused it. You were fair enough to offer an alternative through allowing editorial comments. That was a responsible action that might have prevented an escalation of emotions by both sides of the blog thus preventing a possible unfortunate incident. Some people will call you a judge and jury for taking a stand, but we all know that if you had agreed with their theories, they would be fine with you drawing a conclusion.
I hope this young man gets better despite his past. I do feel for his immediate family because they do love him and there hearts are doing their reasoning for them. Fair enough let them think what ever brings them comfort. I agree he is a victim and does not disserve such a hard consequence for his actions. I also feel he was only a victim of his own bad judgment and nothing or no one else. The whole police brutality thing makes a good story and gives some people a chance at five minutes of fame but at the end of the day its only a good story, that doesn’t make it a true story. It affords an opportune moment for adversaries of the police to take pot shots and attempt to benefit in some ways. Still, at the end of the day it does not mean that any person or persons to include the police did anything in any way to cause this situation.
I believe in God. Everything happens for a reason and God has his reasons. I believe he has a lot of messages for a lot of people and wants us to learn from this. Despite Darryl’s past issues, the Lord still loves him more than any of us could imagine and this might be an opportunity for a turning point in Darryl’s life. Even if we don’t understand Darryl or some people dislike Darryl, we all should pray for him as we are commanded to. We should also pray for his family. The anxiety that the officers involved are enduring is also worthy of prayer. Most of all we must pray for peace in our community amongst all people of all walks.

September 8, 2013 at 11:14 PM 

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