Troy residents packed the Missing Link AME Zion Church on Sixth Avenue on Monday night for a chance to tell city officials what they think is wrong in their neighborhoods.
They had a lot to say to Police Chief John Tedesco, and not much of it was positive.
“Many people including myself have witnessed police beating people for the most insignificant things,” said one community member who spoke at Monday's meeting.
Chief Tedesco listened and reacted.
“To just to stand here and say there are random beatings, I will tell you right now that just isn't true,” he said.
The chief did, however, acknowledge claims of unnecessary language and unfair treatment and promised many residents he'd deal with their concerns personally.
“We started working on that, we will continue to work on that, and if it persists, call me, tell me who the cop is, and we will correct it,” the chief said.
The police department is discouraging the display of nightsticks and search gloves unless officers are in an arrest situation, but the chief says he can only do so much, and then the burden falls on the community.
“Comply with officers and file a complaint later on, because physical resistance is going to get you hurt,” Chief Tedesco said.
“If you don't file a complaint, don't talk no more about it,” said Pastor Willie Bacote, who hosted the meeting.
The city, working with African American clergy, formulated an official complaint form and receipt to make sure every resident's voice is heard. The new form just went into rotation last month.
“Every time you go forward with a complaint, you get a copy, you walk out of the police station with copy in your hand to make sure it is followed up,” Bacote said.
Mayor Lou Rosamilia also spoke about his efforts to reinstate the Police Objective Review Committee.
“Let us put the past in the past and work for the future,” said resident Carolyn Hopkins-laws.
Pastor Bacote called on his community to step up, come to neighborhood meetings, file a complaint if they have one, and be a part of the solution.
“Instead of being a detriment to your community, become an asset to your community, let's do that,” he said.
If you need to file a complaint you can do so with the desk sergeant at the police department or at the Corporation Council Office at City Hall.