Albany police: SWAT used poor black neighborhood for training because it’s ‘realistic’
The chief of police in Albany, New York says that his department just wanted a “realistic” setting when it frightened residents in a poor, predominately African-American neighborhood with SWAT training exercises that included firing blank ammunition and exploding flash grenades.
On Thursday, Albany’s SWAT team shocked nearby residents when it stormed a public housing complex that was scheduled to be demolished, according to the Times Union. Photos circulated on Facebook over the weekend showed police in tactical gear, spent shell casings and fake blood.
In a statement on Monday, Police Chief Steven Krokoff called the training “insensitive.”
“In light of the ever-increasing threats to communities across the nation, I have directed our department to provide the most up-to-date training in a manner that is as realistic as possible,” the police chief said. “I certainly did not mean to offend the very people that we are training to protect.”
“In retrospect, it was insensitive to conduct this type of training in the vicinity of occupied residences. We will review how we conduct our neighborhood-based training in the future and include the community in evaluating its appropriateness.”
Albany NAACP President Bernie Bryan wondered why police had chosen the housing project so close to a poor neighborhood.