Albany, NY – In response to the proposed tear gas ban being voted on April 19 in the Albany Common Council, Ivette Alfonso, president of Citizen Action of New York, released the following statement:

Tear gas, a chemical weapon already banned in warfare, has no place in the hands of police. Historically tear gas, rubber bullets and other military-grade weapons have been used to injure and maim those who seek racial justice, from the civil rights marches of the 60s and the Vietnam War-era peace movement to anti-apartheid demonstrations and the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. Police in Albany and across the country used those same tactics on our streets last summer, escalating with violence against Black Lives Matter protesters and firing toxic chemical weapons that reached into the homes of countless residents. Citizen Action supports a total ban on the use of tear gas and urges the Albany Common Council to pass Local Law C of 2021 with no further amendments.

Mayor Sheehan’s threat to veto the tear gas ban, along with her comment this week equating Black Lives Matter protesters with insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, is deeply troubling. We need leadership that recognizes and is ready to address the harm caused by the institution of policing, rather than callously protecting and upholding it.”