POUGHKEEPSIE – A report issued by a critic of the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department has drawn a strong rebuttal from Mayor Rob Rolison. Rolison and Police Chief Tom Pape recently published their report and recently provided it to the council.
Brian Robinson, CEO of Equitable Future Inc., and member of End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) said in his report’s cover letter issued this week and prepared by the Poughkeepsie Community Action Collaborative (PCAC), “the CPPD has engaged in a clear pattern of unconstitutional and hardcore discrimination against the black and African American population of Poughkeepsie. It is further demonstrated that these practices have been ramped up since the mayor, city administrator, and chief of police settled into their offices.”
Mayor Rolison issued a statement on Wednesday, saying in part, “This so-called report is riddled with innuendos, baseless allegations, faulty logic, and skewed statistics. The writers start by misinterpreting data provided through information supplied online. Based on that fundamental mistake, they proceed to use completely inaccurate data to support their flawed report.”
The collaborative report covers a variety of topics and can be obtained by emailing Mr. Robinson and requesting a copy. Topics in the 65-page document include Harmful Policies, Police Oversight, Diversity, and Alternatives to Calling the Police. The report denounces the official city report on tactics, saying, “The CPPD Use of Force Policy (Policy #300) should be modified to state that de-escalation is the first priority in any encounter and that the application of deadly force is a measure to be employed only after other techniques and resources have failed or could not be reasonably employed.”
With regard to oversight, the newly published document says, “The PCAC recommends that the Common Council promptly enact the proposed Civilian Review Board legislation, which has already been introduced and sponsored by a majority of the Council and which includes all elements of successful civilian oversight.
The PCAC report addresses alternatives to calling the police and says, “We recommend that the City of Poughkeepsie, in coordination with the county, create a resource amplification campaign. The campaign should include the creation of a pamphlet, which contains the name, a short description, location, map of resources in unaccompanied youth services, alcohol and substance abuse, violence and conflict resolution, and mental health, houseless, domestic violence, and medical support. This pamphlet should be regularly distributed across the City of Poughkeepsie, including in homeless shelters, food kitchens, and schools, and updated monthly with edits, questions, and new resources sent in by community members to an email included on the pamphlet.”
Robinson who routinely speaks for ENJAN at council meetings is not unfamiliar with the City of Poughkeepsie Police. He has called on their services on more than one occasion, including an incident in October of 2017 in which he reported a rifle being stolen by people he did not know, during a party at his residence. Robinson’s account to police says that he had been drinking at a Main Street bar and left to walk home. During his trip, he encountered what he described as “two black women and a black guy” that went back to his house to continue partying. Two days later, On October 31, 2017, Robinson called police to report that his rifle was missing from his residence. He offered to police that he believed that he may have been drugged. The weapon has not been recovered to date.