ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Last week, the Rochester Police Locust Club tweeted out screengrabs of City Councilor-elect Stanley Martin’s victory party.
It shows Police Accountability Board members there, while participants were chanting things like “[expletive] the police.”
The Police Locust Club says this calls into question the ability of the PAB to be fair and unbiased when it comes to taking on law enforcement cases, but PAB executive director Conor Dwyer-Reynolds with the board says the images were taken out of context.
Reynolds says on election night, he and other members went to an election night watch party hosted by five different candidates, including Martin’s.
“At the end of that event, one candidate said some comments and chants — that I neither supported nor participated in,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds says this was not supposed to be an anti-police rally. He says the PAB’s job is to be fair and impartial.
“It’s also our job to reach across the aisle, work with both police and people who don’t trust the police,” he said. “Impartiality means being open to relationships with every person in the city.”
Local police union president Mike Mazzeo says PAB members at such an event raise a lot of questions when it comes to fairness, and the board’s ability to approach cases without bias.
“If we’re going to get to a better place, and we want true accountability, and oversight, you have to have a process that’s going to be fair and neutral,” Mazzeo said. “And I think the public has a lot of questions,” he says.
Mazzeo says for PAB members to find common ground with police and the public, you can’t try and wear every hat in a fight, “… and then render decisions,” he said. Mazzeo feels there needs to be more oversight when it comes to the PAB.
Reynolds says the tweet by the Locust Club was misleading, and he wants to move forward. With the current surge in violence, both men say there’s much work to do.
“We always must willing to do two things: Listen to each other and focus on the facts,” says Reynolds.
He’s hoping for greater collaboration and training with the Rochester Police Department. “I’m still going to be coming to the table saying ‘work with us, partner with us,'” he said.