Alice P. Green, PhD.
In this hour of profound sadness over the loss of one of our young people, the City of Albany finds itself at a critical juncture: will we pursue a path of renewed commitment to forging a mutually respectful and meaningful partnership between our citizens and the police department charged with protecting us, or will our undeniable grief and outrage condemn us to the loss of significant progress made in the battle for justice for people of color in the Capital District?
Our heartache and anger over the shooting death of Nah-Cream Moore are absolutely natural and appropriate responses, and those responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable. At the same time, however, the citizens ofAlbanymust seize this opportunity to build upon recent progress in police/community relations to ensure that we never again lose one of our own at the hands of law enforcement.
For nearly three decades, the Center for Law and Justice has monitored and addressed law enforcement excesses regarding people of color in the Capital District. Never has the Center been more hopeful for positive change than it has been these past two years, since the Department’s commitment to community policing has exceeded mere rhetoric. The Department has actively solicited the community’s input regarding police department policies and practices, and has worked diligently to dispel the “us-them” mentality of prior police administrations. The great expectations engendered within our community by the police department’s transformation over the last year and a half, have made the events of December 29th all the more difficult to understand.
Albany’s Police Chief has promised an extensive internal investigation, as well as an independent investigation by the District Attorney’s office, to address all of the community’s concerns regarding the shooting of Nah-Cream Moore. Because of the Department’s considerable advancement toward true culture change, due in large part to the community’s meaningful involvement, we believe that once given the opportunity to review all the facts of this incident, the Department will answer the community’s questions. Furthermore, we are hopeful that the Department will take appropriate action to address any police department failings — be they misconduct by individual officers and/or departmental shortcomings — that may have contributed to the tragic death of Nah-Cream Moore. The community will have an opportunity to review reports issued and hold the Department accountable for the actions it took during the encounter with Nah-Cream.
Both the police department and the community now face a daunting challenge in forging the partnership necessary to prevent such tragedies in the future — how to transcend this unfortunate incident in the face of misinformation promulgated by some in the local media, and others. Inflammatory rumor-mongering by some in the local news media, and erroneous and incomplete news report have only heightened community tensions. It appears, sadly, that some in the media are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
So what isAlbanyto do now? Two elements are necessary to move forward toward the police/community partnership envisioned and articulated by both the Department, under the leadership of Chief Krokoff, and community members: truth, and trust. First, we need the truth: it is absolutely imperative that the Chief provide the community with all the information available to him regarding the death of Nah-Cream Moore, including the circumstances leading to the encounter, the behavior of young Mr. Moore when confronted by the police, and the police officers’ responses. Truth is rarely uncomplicated, and the community should be prepared to be patient while the police department and the District Attorney conduct their respective investigations. At the conclusion of the investigations, all responsible for this tragedy should be held accountable.
Second: we need to develop mutual trust. Soon after Nah-Cream Moore’s death, Chief Krokoff implored the community to work with him. We in the community do want to work with him to ensure everyone’s safety, especially our young people.
Based on the police department’s welcomed move towards transparency and its strong commitment to real community policing, the Center is prepared to trust that the Department will be nothing less than truthful and forthcoming regarding the death of Nah-Cream Moore.
In the coming weeks, truth and trust will helpAlbanyrecover from this tragedy. For today, though, we mourn the death of young Nah-Cream Moore, and hope his tragic passing spurs a unified quest for a peaceful, violence-free existence for us all.