Militarized police with assault weapons and grenades terrorize residents during urban warfare training (Times Union)
Tuesday April 2nd, 2013
Police Chief Steven Krokoff says his department was "insensitive" when it conducted a training exercise that involved police firing blank ammunition and using flash grenades near occupied apartments at the Ida J. Yarbrough Homes.
The chief said the department will review how it conducts "neighborhood-based training" after Thursday's operation drew criticism from residents who said they were frightened by a chaotic scene that seemed real to them.
Krokoff released a statement as photos of the incident spread on Facebook. The pictures showed armed officers in tactical gear as well as fake blood and spent shell casings that were left behind at part of the public housing complex that is now deserted and slated for demolition.
Police said they went door-to-door before the training to notify residents, but many were caught off guard when the teams descended Thursday morning reportedly shooting fake bullets and throwing flash grenades and tear gas into the vacant building during the exercise.
"We wake up to the sound the next morning of literally small bombs," said an Ida Yarbrough resident and state worker, who spoke only on condition she not be identified. "All you could hear was 'pop, pop, pop' of an assault rifle, police screaming 'clear!' I really thought I was in the middle of a war zone — and I have a four-year-old."