Moving past the bar brawl in Troy

Posted at: 02/26/2014 10:44 PM
Updated at: 02/27/2014 2:41 PM
By: Jessica Layton

TROY - A church is often a place people turn to for healing. That's what the crowd gathered inside the Troy Missing Link AME Zion Church was looking to start doing Wednesday night following an incident that's deeply damaged the relationship between the Troy Police Department and some of its residents.

Pastor Willie Bacote has been leading the charge of racism and brutality against the officers on the heels of that bar brawl at Kokopellis. While he wasn't backing down from those claims inside his church, there was the undertone of a calmer approach now that the dust has settled on that headline-making incident.

"We are not going to resort to name calling and pointing fingers at anybody," Bacote said.

Community advocate Dr. Alice Green of the Center of Law and Justice in Albany was also on the panel at the meeting.

"We're going to start start talking about where we go from here," Green said.

Green says the full fledged fight between police and patrons at Kokopellis night club Jan. 25 still needs to be addressed.

"Unfortunately we see a great deal of mistrust and tension between the community and police," Green added.

But also, that it's time to mend fences and regain some of that trust. Police Chief John Tedesco has said that has to be a two-way street between his department and members of the community. Despite a rocky relationship the past four weeks, Bacote says he agrees.

"We're asking everyone here tonight to look at the issues of responsibility and take accountability," he said.

So where do they go from here?

The panel renewed a call for an independent investigation of the Kokopellis incident. The police chief is also on board with that. They also want a review board within the city set up to keep tabs on officers' actions.