sidewalk shrine of candles and flowers at the intersection
of State and Lark streets has been cleared away. Now, Center
Square residents are awaiting answers—at this stage, mostly
with patience—on the Albany Police Department’s investigation
into the shooting death of David Scaringe.
Those answers may be weeks or months away. In the meantime,
police administrators have been talking to neighborhood associations
about the shooting on New Year’s Eve, when two Albany officers
opened fire on a car whose driver fled a traffic stop and
then barreled onto a sidewalk in Center Square. A bullet fired
by Albany Officer Joseph Gerace hit 24-year-old Scaringe,
a passerby who collapsed, bleeding to death in the crosswalk
at State and Lark streets.
Jack Nielsen, Albany’s commissioner of public safety, and
Police Chief Robert Wolfgang spoke to the Center Square Association
want to be very clear that there is nothing about this that
will not be open and honest, at least as far as we can be
capable of,” Nielsen told about 60 residents.
Three days earlier, a group of Albany neighborhood organizations
and representatives to the Albany Common Council and Albany
County Legislature sent a letter to Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings
urging the release of the findings.
Police don’t know yet if that will be possible, Nielsen said,
because the shooting may be before a grand jury by the time
the investigation is finished.
Questions from the audience mixed appreciation for the willingness
of police to meet the public with tough inquiries about the
actions taken that day. Wolfgang read aloud the policy that
prohibits police from firing a gun from or at a moving vehicle
“unless an occupant of the other vehicle is using deadly physical
force against the officers or one another.” Police have not
yet commented publicly on whether the officers under investigation
properly followed that policy.
think that there’s a general appreciation that this was a
terrible accident, and that they’re expecting the police to
do a thorough investigation,” said Joe Cunin, executive director
of the Lark Street Business Improvement District, who attended
the meeting. “And it does appear that [police] are in that
process, and I think that people got that impression from
Heat, Few Consequences?
the heat first went out at 85 Morris St. in Albany a little
more than two weeks ago, the downstairs tenant went straight
to her sister’s house. The upstairs tenants stuck it out,
using an open oven for heat. But last Wednesday (Jan. 14)
they finally complained to the codes department and threatened
to call the media in an attempt to get the heat back on. A
maintenance person did come by, but the heat went out again
when pipes burst and a radiator exploded. The tenants contacted
Channel 6, who ran their story Thursday (Jan. 15).
offered them relocation slips, since the heat was not up to
standard,” said Valerie Scott, division supervisor of the
Albany Buildings & Codes Department. “They refused those.
The landlord was supposed to be working on it. On Friday,
the fire department went in and said if the heat was not fixed
immediately we would have no choice but to remove them, voluntarily
or involuntarily, because of the method being used to heat.”
The heat was restored Friday night. On Saturday, according
to the downstairs tenant, one of the upstairs tenants was
taken to the hospital. The upstairs tenants could not be reached,
so it is not known if the hospital visit was related to the
prolonged period of cold.
The landlord was identified in news reports as Visions One
Management Group, a division of Vision Real Estate Management
& Development, Inc., located on Central Avenue. VRMD specializes
“in the purchasing, rehabilitating and selling of foreclosed
properties to private investment groups and individuals,”
according to its Web site, which also says the company has
“one goal, to make a new class of wealthy investors out of
VRMD shareholders.” VRMD did not return repeated calls for
Scott said that the department may pursue court action
against the landlord because the violation was not fixed within
the required 24 hours. She said, however, that in that process
they would not be able to take into account any notification
the tenants gave to the landlord previous to their complaint
to the city.