Kingston residents are outraged by the statements Kingston Police Chief Tinti made to the Kingston Times in its “Serve, Protect but Not Invade” article published Aug. 21, 2014. We condemn his “praying for peace, preparing for war” approach to policing our streets. Militarized police forces escalated the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and we do not condone these tactics in theory or practice here in Kingston.
Chief Tinti stands alone in his zeal for handouts from the Department of Homeland Security; Woodstock, Rosendale, Ellenville and Saugerties leadership understand that armored weapons are not equivalent to a “fire extinguisher in the corner” but are the opening volley in a war against those they are sworn to serve and protect. Militarization of the police is not a black-or-white issue — it is a human rights issue — though it is proven that people of color and people in poverty are disproportionately affected by violence committed by police.
Soldiers in the armed forces train every day to use the weapons of war in a safe, responsible manner against the enemy. Kingston area residents are not the terrorists this equipment is designed to destroy. Weekend training for its proper use is inadequate, and deploying what is essentially a tank to serve a warrant is a travesty — not a point of pride. Kingston is not a combat zone, and we refuse to be held hostage by the ideology that it is.
We encourage Chief Tinti to reconsider his stance and to “pray for peace, prepare for peace” instead. It is imperative he address Kingston residents in a public forum and adjust his policies to reflect the progressive policing of his more enlightened peers.
End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN)
Citizen Action of New York
LGBTQ Task Force to Undo Racism and Mass Incarceration
The Woodstock Jewish Congregation Task Force to End the New Jim Crow
New York Against Racial Inequality (NYARI)
Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills
The Mitchell plan
Here is an agenda to vote for (ask your candidates how they stand before you vote this November).
1) Repel immigration amnesty,
2) Repeal Obamacare,
3) Repel ISIS in Iraq, and
4) Repeal Common Core.
Ralph Mitchell, Kingston