Activists offer forum for community to move past Kokopellis incident

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Updated: 2/26 10:32 pm

TROY, N.Y. – Several activists came together Wednesday night to allow the community to voice their concerns over the January Kokopellis incident in an attempt to move past it.

Tensions still remain in Troy after the melee at Kokopellis that had some saying the police used excessive force.

Surveillance video of the incident captured footage of the large crowd fighting. The Troy Police Department said the FBI has the records and will be looking into the case.

About 60 people attended the meeting to find a way to change the tension in Troy.

“Unite for the people and not for personal agendas,” Pastor Willie Bacote said.

Bacote said the melee at Kokopellis is part of a larger problem and organized the public forum at his church to discuss the relationship between the community and the police department. At the center of the meeting was a panel that included a civil rights attorney, researchers and other activists.

“We are trying to find answers and solutions to problems that truly exist and stop finger pointing and accusing people,” Bacote said.

Members of the Troy Police Department did not attend the forum. Bacote said they were open to come.

“It’s not that I didn’t invite them,” he said. “This was an open forum; a public forum. They were invited. It was open to the entire public.”

Captain John Cooney with the Troy Police Department said police continue to work to improve relations with the community and have extended an invitation to the Troy African-American Pastoral Alliance to take part in the department’s annual training session.

“Meet with our workforce, meet with our officers that are on the street every night and day and share their perspective,” he said.

Police said members of the Troy African-American Pastoral Alliance should be getting the letters in the mail Thursday, and they look forward to organizing a time for the pastors to come in.

Activists still say an independent investigation into the Kokopellis incident is still needed.

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