YouTube, Jacon, McGrath - Part II
So far, we have this: McGrath sees video (see previous post), McGrath e-mails video to the Mayor. Mayor alerts police to video.
The Community Grocery Store, on the corner of 6th and Douw was featured in the video.
Like most in the gangster rap genre, the theme of the 2005 video is a celebration of street violence, sex and drug and alcohol use. In two scenes, a handgun is flashed and another showed Troy police cars. Police had already stepped up enforcement in the neighborhood when McGrath told Mayor Harry Tutunjian about the video Wednesday afternoon. The mayor immediately informed Police Chief Nicholas Kaiser and Wednesday night, which led to a crew of police officers staking out the corner.
As the police officers and officers from the state Division of Parole were sitting in the surveillance vehicle on Douw Street at about 6:45 p.m. a suspicious car with four teenagers circled the block and parked three feet in front of them. One of the passengers got out of the car and Officer Sean Kittle saw him tuck a large semi-automatic handgun into his belt. He alerted his partners and the team took down the pedestrian and "tactically removed" the occupants of the car. Detectives determined the four youths had planned to raid a residence on Douw Street and rob the person living there. Troy police confiscated a .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a BB pistol.
Police continued to observe Community Grocery and later that night arrested seven people on numerous charges, including drug possession and loitering for the purchase of and/or using illegal drugs. -The Record January 12, 2007
There are some problems with this story. We'd respectfully disagree that the video was a 'celebration.' No one ever knows for certain the intent of an artist. Some could argue that Platoon celebrates war. However, the very next day, Franco did write a story which focused on the producers and their message.
'Led to a crew of police officers staking out the corner.' We have no doubt that the press was led to believe that a causal connection existed between the video and the arrests. That seemed to be the official line. However...
Community Police Officer John Comitale was well aware that the Community Grocery was geographically significant in the North Central drug trade. So much so that the police detail that made the arrests had been schedule prior to McGrath's viewing of the video.
Also, as of January 12, 2007, everyone who read Franco's article knew that Officer Sean Kittle was the officer who could establish probable cause for the stop.
The video had nothing to do with the arrests. Who made the link between the two the official line? We can only guess. There is nothing to indicate that Councilman McGrath attempted to make the connection or tried to take credit for the fine work of Officer Comitale and the other officers.
When we first ran with this story back in January, it was linked in a Troy Good Neighbor Yahoo group post. Said the poster:
I also believe that its important for Troy to see all angles (political angles included) and see what other Troy residents take on things is. Hopefully we can learn from them and use our forums in a positive manner--this was the purpose of my post.
And actually the troypolitics blogspot's humor and satire cracks me up -- it is unique and we all need humor in our life!!
Enjoy the humor and satire and lets never shy away from City challenges--
That post received this response:
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:17 PM
Subject: Re:(no subject)
I was happy to join the downtown group recently, and truly appreciate the invite from Lauren. As I've told a few of the people I have met in the past few weeks, I hope that as a downtown resident and an employee of the City I can help with some of the issues that those of us who live down here face on a daily basis.
The one thing I did not want to do was turn it into a "political thing," as I believe there is enough of that already in the City.
That said, I feel I must respond to your post this morning concerning the recent police activity in North Central. What you copied and pasted from another site is just not true.
The idea that the Mayor is trying to steal someone's glory is absurd, and really can only be described in that way by a group that has an unhealthy obsession, and a unique penchant for making things up.
Councilman McGrath saw the video and passed it along to the Mayor. The Mayor forwarded it to the Police Chief. The arrests occurred later that night. The purpose of using the video as a tool to get the message out was simple, it was a resident that brought it to the attention of Councilman McGrath. It is the residents, more than any other group in the City of Troy, that have a keen idea of what is happening in their neighborhoods. This was not about the Mayor getting attention, it was about promoting the fact that residents and business owners in the City do make a major difference each and every day.
Why someone would attempt to make people feel as if that did not happening is beyond me.
I will end my correspondence to you, and get back to my lunch, with a brief excerpt of the Mayor's column from last week. I think it best describes what the story last week was really about, and not some political concoction.
"We are always spreading the message that nuisances such as this store are a detriment to our neighborhoods and the City of Troy as a whole. With quick action by the police and code enforcement we arrested individuals determined to commit a crime, and closed a store that was the definition of unsafe. We will not tolerate this type of activity, and those that openly flaunt it will pay the ultimate price.
I want to thank Councilman McGrath, and the residents in his district for being observant and attentive to conditions of their area. If you have a problem in the City of Troy- let us know. We will investigate it and we will fix it. And those that seek to damage our City will continue to find out that they are not welcome here, and will be dealt with.
The City will pursue nuisance abatement on this building, and at the moment there is no timetable for it to reopen.
This story should serve as the ultimate reminder that working together we can accomplish goals that improve the quality of life for all of Troy."
Please feel free to share my response with whomever you should choose. Have a great day, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Which is all well and good except.... the detail that made the 'arrests later that night' had already been scheduled prior to the video being brought to the attention of McGrath. Buell does all but directly state that the video was responsible for the arrests While we have no doubt that residents and business owners can and do make a difference every day, this was not one of those times. So, who tried to mislead the press? Who tried to take credit for the fine planning and work of Officer Comitale and the Troy Police?
Part III tomorrow or Friday. It all depends on how much we drink tonight.