Saratoga Police Release Statement on Thursday Night Protests

Photo: News 10 ABC

Photo: News 10 ABC

RELEASE FROM THE SARATOGA POLICE DEPARTMENT:

"On this date a “Back the Blue” rally was held at 6pm in the City of Saratoga Springs. In the early stages of the rally a group supporting “BLM” and “All of US” held a counter-protest and ultimately both groups converged in Congress Park near the Casino. Although at times tensions were high, words were exchanged, and both groups advanced toward each other, no violence occurred. The “Back the Blue” rally ended at 7:45pm and those participants left the area. The group representing “BLM” and “All of US” made the decision to continue their protest by laying down in the intersection of Broadway and Congress Street for a period of time. The group then moved north on Broadway by walking in the roadway, disrupting traffic and closing down streets. These actions continued up and down Broadway for about 45 minutes and at approximately 8:30pm, Lt. Jason Mitchell of the Saratoga Springs Police Department approached leaders of the group and asked them to leave the roadway. The group leaders were advised they could continue their protest on the sidewalks but not in the roadway. Lt. Mitchell and Command Staff members were concerned that someone would get hit by a car as it was now dark out and it was difficult to see those people laying in the roadway.

The leaders of the group and the protestors refused to leave the roadway after numerous warnings so officers moved in and arrests were made. Once order was restored the remaining protestors moved back to the sidewalk to continue their protest. Three (3) people in total were arrested, one (1) of which is a juvenile. The arrest information for the two adults will be released tomorrow.

As everyone knows, the “BLM” and “All of US” groups have conducted numerous protests in the City of Saratoga Springs. The City of Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga Springs Police Department recognizes and supports the right to peacefully protest. Every time these protests have occurred, the protestors have been treated with professionalism by members of the SSPD and on a few occasions members of the SSPD have stepped in to protect protestors from angry citizens. City leaders and the Command Staff of the SSPD have reached out to the respective organizers numerous times to discuss City issues and they have refused to meet.

At this point the City of Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga Springs Police Department can no longer allow these groups to shut down roads and put themselves and others lives in danger. When the safety of pedestrians and motorists are constantly being put in danger, the protest is no longer peaceful.

The City of Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga Springs Police Department are always willing to listen and work productively with our community. We will however not tolerate the continued disruption of City streets nor will we tolerate the safety of our residents and visitors being put at risk by unlawful behavior."

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