In his first public appearance since becoming president of the Police Benevolent Association, Sgt. Tom Hoffman called on the Ethics Committee to investigate, and possibly remove, Councilwoman Anastasia Robertson, D-District 2, for trying to incite white police officers into becoming physical with a group of blacks.
Many residents were outraged by Robertson’s comments regarding the race riots in Ferguson Missouri, but that’s not why Hoffman was upset.
Hoffman relayed a story that happened on Aug. 30, at about 5 p.m.
He said officers on patrol first heard a disturbance – yelling and screaming and what not - in the area of Fifth Avenue and 101st Street. When they pulled over to find out what was going on, one woman took off while one stayed. The woman who ran was white and the woman who stayed was black, he said, and she was upset “and could not calm down.”
As officers were learning from the woman she was having a domestic dispute with her female partner, a crowd began to gather and “became unruly towards them (the officers) with insinuations of racial bias because the young lady who stayed at the scene was black and the young lady who left was white.”
He said many of the bystanders had their cell phones out, and tried to “bait the officers into a physical confrontation.”
“Because of the professionalism of our officers they remained calm and inverted in a potentially dangerous situation,” he said.
He said one of the bystanders with their cell phones “in the face” of officers was Robertson.
“’This is why the black community doesn’t respect the police,’” he said she told one of the officers. “’You only go after black people.’”
“Councilwoman Robertson assisted and incited and encouraged public unrest and anti-police sentiment, all while not knowing all the facts of the case,” Hoffman said. “Councilwoman Robertson was unethical, unprofessional and acted in a manner detrimental to her position on the city council and to the residents of this city. You can’t talk about public safety and aid in public unrest.”
As Hoffman was finishing his speech, Robertson packed up her things and left the chamber – which was met with a mix of catcalls and applause from the audience.
“I have been a proud member of the Troy Police Department for almost 25 years,” Hoffman continued, “and I have never witnessed more disrespect towards the group of men and women who put their lives on the line every day for the members of this community.
Unlike Councilwoman Robertson, members of the Troy Police Department do not see black and white.”
Earlier this week, many residents were upset with Robertson’s comments that included spelling America, “AmeriKKKa” and for stating that there is a concerted effort by whites to exterminate blacks.
She responded to critics prior to the public comment period of Thursday’s Council meeting.
“When I responded I was, like many other people, struggling, trying to understand what was happening in Ferguson and other situations throughout the country,” she said, adding the comments were made as an individual and not in her capacity as councilwoman. “I do recognize that my word choice was unfortunate and offensive to some of the citizens of Troy. That was not my intent to be offensive or alienate anyone.
“I am looking to create a more stable environment in a community where we can all live in peace together. I only want what’s best for the residents and the citizens of Troy.
It’s unclear if the Ethics Committee will investigate Hoffman’s claims. Earlier this year, the Ethics Committee opted not to look into a complaint about another Facebook post Robertson made urging residents to sue the city in light of the melee at Kokopellis and accusations of police brutality.