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Changes In Ithaca Police Dept. After Internal Investigation
Written By: Asha McKenzie
ITHACA, NY (WENY) - Earlier this month we reported about an incident on August 10th, when white Ithaca Police Officer, Sgt John Norman, who was in plainclothes in an unmarked car drew his gun while attempting to stop black teenagers on Cleveland Avenue in the city.
This incident raised concerns from the black community and prompted an internal investigation from the city.
The city found no race-based motivation and the officer did not violate police policy.
But even with no break in policy, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick has decided to make big changes to the police force.
In an email, Mayor Myrick talks about the events happening in Ferguson, Missouri and how a long history of violence and mistrust between Ithaca Police and the black community is "understandable."
So now after a two week long investigation, the Police Department may undergo a complete internal makeover.
Change after controversy over the police chase of black teenagers in Ithaca.
A little after midnight on August 10th, Sgt John Norman, a white officer in plainclothes in an unmarked vehicle was investigating a vehicle arson when he saw individuals fleeing from the scene of the fire on bikes.
When Sergeant Norman caught up to the individuals he ordered them to stop several times.
And as he exited his car, police reports state, the teenagers began to walk towards him.
He then drew his weapon, held it in a down position and ordered them to the ground.
But the timing of this incident, just one day after Ferguson teen, Michael Brown was gunned down by police, had parents of those teenagers concerned about the Police Department's tactics... which led to an internal investigation..
And now the mayor wants to make these changes:
- Require All Ithaca Police officers to wear a body camera and use dashboard cams.
- Require All new officers entering the force to reside in the city
- The mayor wants a Community Action Team that works to improve community outreach.
And the police department will be opening a district office on the west end, they say, to give the community better access.