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Symposium Timeline

The Time for Reckoning symposium is part of a two-year-long project organized by the Center for Law and Justice (CFLJ) in response to the shooting of 19-year-old African-American Ellazar Williams by Albany Police Department Detective James Olsen. The CFLJ then conducted research on the relationship between communities of color and the Albany police department and district attorney's office and called Albany government officials to take action against systemic racism.

Learn details about the actions that the CFLJ  has taken and events from the Capital Region and around the US that have influenced this project. 

August 20, 2018

19-year-old African-American Ellazar Williams is shot in the back and paralyzed from the chest down by Albany Police Department Detective James Olsen, who faces neither criminal charges nor disciplinary measures.

September 7, 2018

Eric Hawkins, former Chief of Police in Southfield, Michigan, is sworn in as Chief of Police in Albany.

March 16, 2019

Three people of color are pepper sprayed and severely beaten by APD officers responding to a noise complaint in what becomes known as the "First Street Incident".

August 15, 2019

The Center for Law and Justice (CFLJ) publishes Pathway to Reformative Change: Public Safety, Law Enforcement, and the Albany Community, warning government officials about the dire lack of trust of law enforcement among Albany's communities of color.

January 15, 2020

Police Chief Eric Hawkins announces that the APD Office of Professional Standards (OPS) has completed its "First Street Incident" investigation, pledging to share the report with the public in February 2020.

February 15, 2020

CFLJ requests "First Street Incident" Report from Chief Hawkins.

March 15, 2020

CFLJ requests "First Street Incident" Report from Chief Hawkins a second time.

April 7, 2020

CFLJ sends Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Police Chief Eric Hawkins, Common Council President Corey Ellis, and District Attorney David Soares a courtesy advance copy of CFLJ's second report, Structural Racism and Public Safety in Albany, challenging the four officials to respond to the growing unrest within communities of color and proposing a Fall 2020 community/government symposium.

April 14, 2020

CFLJ publishes Structural Racism and Public Safety in Albany.

April 15, 2020

CFLJ requests "First Street Incident" Report from Chief Hawkins a third time.

May 12, 2020

CFLJ files FOIA request for the "First Street Incident" Report.

May 25, 2020

African American George Floyd is asphyxiated by a Minneapolis Police Officer who kneels on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, sparking protests and calls for police reform all across the country - including in Albany.

May 30, 2020

Peaceful George Floyd protest in Albany followed by uprising.

June 12, 2020

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issues Executive Order No. 203, requiring all municipalities to appoint a "Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative" to address systemic racism in policing, requiring a report to be submitted to the Governor by April 1, 2021.

June 15, 2020

CFLJ partners with the New York Writers Institute to collaborate on the Fall symposium, now set for the end of October and named The Time for Reckoning: Confronting Systemic Racism, Seeking Justice and Reimagining Society --- "Reckoning," for short.

June 20, 2020

The Justice Center of Rensselaer County joins the "Reckoning" partnership.

June 29, 2020

WMHT, the Capital Region's Public Broadcasting System (PBS) station, joins the "Reckoning" partnership.

July 10, 2020

The Albany Times Union joins the "Reckoning" partnership.

July 16, 2020

After several delays, in response to CFLJ May 12 FOIA request City of Albany Corporation Counsel provides CFLJ with "First Street Incident" Report which found that APD officers faced disciplinary action for violating the rights of Albany citizens.

July 29, 2020

WMHT sets date for late October taping of Albany government official panel to be aired on New York Now on October 26.

September 16, 2020

The Stephen J. McKee Foundation joins the "Reckoning" partnership.

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