GLENS FALLS — The city, on Thursday, will attempt to hold a public forum to discuss its police reform plan, a week after a previously scheduled forum was abruptly ended after several individuals began making racist comments during the meeting.
The meeting will take place on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel, according to Fifth Ward Councilman Jim Clark, who heads the city’s police reform committee.
Those wishing to speak or ask questions during the meeting can do so by typing a comment, which will be read out loud and answered by committee members.
Warren County conducts its public meetings in a similar fashion.
Last week, the city attempted to hold a public forum on its state-mandated police reform plan, but was forced to end the meeting within minutes after several individuals began unmuting their microphones and hurling racial slurs and other obscenities.
The individuals also left more than 100 racist comments in the chatroom of the Zoom teleconference meeting.
A day after the incident, members of the 14-person committee responsible for drafting the plan vowed to continue their work, saying that the public will have an opportunity to be heard.
The committee was appointed by Mayor Dan Hall last year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order creating the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative in response to the police-involved death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a Black man from Minnesota, died after a police officer there kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. His death sparked widespread civil unrest throughout much of the country, including several demonstrations in the Glens Falls area.
The Collaborative requires all police agencies to work with community members to develop a more modern approach to policing.
Departments have until April 1 to submit a final plan to the state or risk losing state funding.
Last week’s meeting would have marked the first time that members of the public would have been allowed to speak directly with members of the committee that drafted plans to reform the Glens Falls Police Department.
The committee has solicited the public’s input on the proposal through email and a pair of online surveys.
Those interested in participating in Thursday’s meeting can so by searching for “City of Glens Falls” on YouTube or by following this link: https://bit.ly/3aLLFms.
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.