Letter to the Editor: City police deserve praise – Sheriff has work to do

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Dear Editor,
We want to take a minute and thank the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department (CPPD), Captain Wilson, Chief Pape, and Mayor Rolison for the utmost professionalism that they provided to the protesters on September 26th.
In a climate in which protesters are deemed riot-goers, vandals, or simple troublemakers the city of Poughkeepsie Police led by example, allowing us to assemble, speak, and march throughout the city without one negative interaction.  They sped to every intersection just to keep us safe.
As we headed towards city hall we noticed not one city barricade. We were allowed to gather on the steps of city hall without any issues. As we ascended on the walkway bridge we were once again treated with the utmost respect. The right to protest for rights was in full effect.
As we exited the bridge and headed toward Hamilton street we encountered bullying tactics by the county.  As we approached the newly built law enforcement building we saw the entire building was basically barricaded with officers in full riot gear. Nevertheless, we kept the march and protest going back down Hamilton street, just to find the jail was also completely barricaded with officers standing firm at what appeared to be the exit.  Nevertheless, we kept on.
Now let’s stop for a second.
The city of Poughkeepsie police along with the mayor know that the Stop The Violence Movement (STVM) is about peace and raising awareness thus no need to barricade the buildings.  You see we also had a protest in June of this year with 2000 plus people.
Sheriff Butch Anderson should have noticed that the event happened without one arrest. Not one officer even the 10 you sent out of 350 got injured and rightfully so. It’s a protest, not an anti-police fight.  Not one instance of property damage occurred.
With 6 plus events under our watch, we as community organizers earned the respect of the police department and when we say we are about PEACE our participants also come in peace.
So on to the park (Earlene Patrice/Mansion Square Park) we went but not without one huge smile and a wave from the great Ann Perry. You see it was Ann and her smile and grace who let us know there are people who trust and encourage peaceful protest.  Just like the CPPD and by no means is the work done.  But we must acknowledge that with any relationship you must have respect, trust, and integrity.
We thank the police for their hard work and leadership.  We will be working with them in the near future to continue to build on community, police, and organization relations.
We will also continue to work with those like the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) who as of yet don’t trust what America has put on paper; the right to protest for rights.
And please let the record reflect that I passed by both locations later that evening and it was clear that they barricaded the area because of who we are and what we were protesting because the entrance or and exit to both buildings were now free of a metal barrier.
Once again thanks to the community, CPPD, Chief Pape, Captain Wilson, and Mayor Rolison for their service and support.
To the Sheriff’s Office of Dutchess County, ” We’ve got work to do!”
Respectfully yours,
Robert Pemberton, Founder of the Stop the VIOLENCE movement
Joseph Stratford, President of the Stop the VIOLENCE movement
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.