Letter: Saratoga Springs police comments were fear mongering

Letter: Saratoga Springs police comments were fear mongering

The comments by Saratoga Springs Assistant Police Chief John Catone sounded a lot like fear mongering. He tried to criminalize a movement committed to achieving safety and equity for Black and brown Americans. Catone blamed social justice movements for the recent incident on Caroline Street and rising city crime.

I would hope that our priorities are not so misplaced that we blame social justice movements for unruliness on Caroline Street. Such incidents on that street don’t require movements of any kind. Lacking such basic insight, one shouldn’t pontificate on what causes crime.
By calling for the “silent majority” to join him, Catone used the same Trump-like rhetoric that resulted in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Historically, this type of language has led to preventing Black and brown people from living in certain neighborhoods. Of course, Catone was quick to remind us of his family’s longstanding roots in the community and that no one here is racist. Reads like another version of “some of my best friends are...”
Most distressing is that we heard nothing about our need to address systemic inequalities that are all too evident in policing institutions. Ignoring criminogenic factors like equitable housing, economic opportunities and accessible medical care doesn’t make us safer. Reimagining public safety can, by expanding our opportunities to reduce crime.
It’s not surprising that Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, voiced support for Cantone’s remarks since they were intended for her political benefit. However, they only showcased Dalton’s lack of leadership.


Al Ormsby

Saratoga Springs