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WeSTILLCantBreathe:JusticeforDontayIvy!

November1,2015

AnOpenLettertoMayorKathySheehan,D.A.DavidSoares,ChiefofPoliceBrendanCox,Members
oftheCommonCouncil,andmembersofourCapitalDistrictcommunities,fromCapitalAreaAgainst
MassIncarceration(CAAMI)

ShortlyaftermidnightonApril2,2015,DonaldDontayIvydiedafterbeingunconstitutionally
stopped,violentlyassaultedandtaseredbyAlbanypoliceofficers.

OnOctober28,2015,AlbanyCountyDistrictAttorneyDavidSoaresannouncedthataGrandJuryhad
decidednottoindictthethreeofficersinvolvedinIvysdeath.Inaletter

SoareswrotetoAlbanyMayor
KathySheehandescribingtheresultsofhisinvestigationintotheincidentwhichhereferredtoasa
scuffleSoaresdidnotshareanyspecificsofthetestimonyorevidenceobtainedbyorpresentedto
thegrandjury.GiventhatDistrictAttorneysarealmostalwaysabletoobtainindictmentsfromGrand
Juries,itseemslikelythatD.A.Soaresdidnotseriouslyattempttoobtainanindictment.

Soaresletterwasawhitewash,acceptingthepoliceaccountatfacevalueandbarelymentioninganeed
toreviewpolicedepartmenttrainingand

policiesexceptforrecommendingmorecameras.Inajoint
pressconferencewithSoares,AlbanyPoliceChiefBrendanCoxsaidthethreeofficershadnotviolated
anypolicyandthiswasnotacaseofracialprofiling.

AnotherBlackpersonisdeadatthehandsofwhitepoliceofficers,andnoonedidanythingwrong.

DontayIvylefthishousetocheckhisaccountatthelocalATMforhisbenefitfunds.Findingtheywere
notyetavailable,hewasonhiswayhomewhenhewasaccostedbyAlbanypoliceofficers.

D.A.Soaresspendsalotofspaceinhisreportdetailinghisofficesunsuccessfulattemptstofind
nonpolicewitnessesandusefulvideoorcameraimagesforwhathappenednext.Mostofthe
informationhepresentscomesfromthepoliceofficersthemselves.Buttheofficersownaccount
presentsahorrifyingandunashamedpictureofaviolentpoliceassaultonaninnocentunarmedman
whowasmindinghisownbusinessandpresentednothreattoanyone.Itisnotclearwhyanyadditional
informationwouldbeneededtoindicttheseofficersandthepolicies,training,departmentalculture,
andsocietalracismthatledtoDontayIvysdeath.

AsdescribedintheSoaresletter,theofficerspresentedtheiraccountofridiculoushunches(helooked
suspiciousbecausehewaswearingapuffjacketwithhishandsinthesleevesandthetemperaturewas
notthatcoldat26degrees)andwildlyescalatingpoliceviolenceasifitwasnormalandacceptable
policingpolicyandpracticewhichapparentlyitis,sinceboththeD.A.andthePoliceChieffound
nothingwrongwithit.

Theofficerswerenotlookingforasuspectnocrimehadbeencommitted.Thepoliceaccount
establishesthattheofficersviolatedMr.Ivysrightsfromthemomenttheyaccostedhim.Theyhadno
reasonable,articulablesuspicionMr.Ivyhadbeen,was,orwasabouttobeengagedincriminalactivity,
theconstitutionalrequirementforapolicestoptobelawful.Whenaskedtoshowhishandstoprove
hewasnotconcealingaguninthesleeveMr.Ivycomplied.Atthatpointtheofficers,withzero

groundsforsuspicionofanything,changedtheirtheory:ifhewasnotconcealingagun,hemustbe
concealingdrugs.Noracialprofiling?

Ateachstageoftheconfrontation,theofficersusedthefeartheycreatedasanexcusetoescalateto
moreviolence.Withnogroundsforsuspicion,theystartedapatsearch,andwhenDontaymovedhis
hands,theytriedtoputhandcuffsonhim,andwhenheresistedthehandcuffsnotacrime
,
sincehe
wasnotunderarresttheyassaultedhim,attemptedtothrowhimtotheground,andtaseredhim.Then
hebegantorun(alsonotacrime)withthreeofficerschasingandrepeatedlytaseringhim.Finallythe
officersthrewhimtothegroundfacedown,beathimwithbatons,taseredhimsomemore,andcuffed
hishandsbehindhisback.Mr.Ivystillhaddoneabsolutelynothingillegalorthreateningandwasnot
underarrest.Theofficerstherewerefiveofthemnowdescribehimbeingdisruptivescreaming,
flailing,andarchinghisbacksotheycontinuedtobeatandtaserhim,anddecidedtoshacklehisfeet.
Afterhewasshackled,theysaid,hefinallycalmeddown,andshortlyafterwardtheyrolledhimover.

DontayIvywasdead.

ThecoronersaidDontaydiedofastressinducedheartattackbroughtonbytheconfrontation,with
taseringacontributing,butnottheonly,factor.TheD.A.foundanexpertfromoutofstatetosaythat
deathisnotareasonablyforeseeableresultoftasering(althoughithaskilledatleast800people,not
countingpolicecoverups).Dontaysunderlyingheartconditionandmentalillnessweresaidtobe
contributingfactors,andperhapstheywerebutyouwouldnothavetobementallyilltopanicinthat
situation.

InhislettertoMayorSheehan,Mr.Soaressaysitistimeforhealingtobegin.CAAMIsaystherecanbe
nohealingwithoutjustice.

DontayIvyisthetipoftheiceberg:ifthisisthetreatmentmetedouttoamentallyill,unthreatening,
nonsuspect,whattreatmentmustbestandardforapersonofcolorsuspectedofacrime,orboldenough
tochallengeanabusiveofficer?

WeareoutragedthatourcommunityisbeingaskedtoacceptthedeathofaninnocentBlackmanbya
violentpoliceattackasnormalandjustified.Ifnopartofthesystemdidanythingwrong,nooneis
accountable,andnomajorchangesneedtohappen,wecanalljustsitbackandwaitforthenextdeathof
thenextDontayIvywhichissuretocome.

OurcommunityrefusestositstillandwaitforanotherBlackdeathatthehandsofpolice.CAAMIdoes
notacceptDontayIvysdeath,thenonindictmentofkillerpoliceofficers,andtheexcusesofMr.
SoaresandChiefCoxwhichguaranteethatnothingwillchangeandmoreDontayswillbekilled.

CAAMIdemandsthefiringoftheofficersinvolvedinDontaysdeath,theresignationofDistrict
AttorneySoares,anendtotheuseofTasersbyAlbanypolice,andthedisarmingoftheAPD.Wewant
nomoreDontays,nomoreabuse,nomoreoverpolicing,nomoremassincarceration,nomoreyouthin
adultprisons,nomoreraciallytargetedpolicieswhichendangerratherthanprotectourcommunities.

Wehavehelddemonstrations,protests,teachins,sitins,anddieinstoinsistthatBlackLivesMatter
hereintheCapitalDistrictastheydoeverywhere.Wewillnotstopuntilthepolicies,practices,and
culturethatledtoDontayIvysdeathareeradicatedforever.