Letter: Broken Window

I would like to address a broken window at a Main Street business in Cold Spring. On Nov. 2, the night before the election, a window on the side of the building that houses Chapeau was cracked. Because the owner of Chapeau, Archie Broady, is Black, community members have raised concerns that the window damage may have been intentionally done as an act of racism.

As officer-in-charge of the Cold Spring Police Department (CSPD), I take accusations of bias crimes seriously and I expect that all of my officers do as well. I investigated the window damage at Chapeau myself; I spoke to the business owner and the building owner. The damage was a crack in a side window, on an alley. In general, bias crimes are bold statements intended to be visible, and to intimidate. The crack could have been caused by a thrown object, but it also could have been caused by accidental means. Context is important as well. The business owner did not report any previous threats or vandalism. In this case, the evidence does not necessarily point to a bias crime, so, the incident was not recorded as such.

Having said that, the facts of the window damage do not negate the shop owner’s apparent experience of bias while operating his business in Cold Spring. Sadly, racism exists in every community. To counter it, we all have to listen to each other, learn from each other and be good neighbors.

The outpouring of support for Mr. Broady and his business, by the Chamber of Commerce and community members, is great to see. It says a lot about the goodness we have around us in Cold Spring and Philipstown.

The CSPD continues to remain in contact with Mr. Broady to monitor for possible follow-up incidents. We protect this shopkeeper and his business as we protect all our Main Street businesses. Vandalism happens, even in the village. Sometimes it may be hate-based. Other times it is simply mindless and destructive. We investigate all cases, and we do our best to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

Racism, and community conversations about it, are central to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order on police reform and reinvention. The village trustees and I are working on a review of existing policies. In the new year we will be turning to the public to tell us about your experiences with CSPD, the values you expect us to hold up and how we move forward as partners in public safety.

In the meantime, my officers and I are committed to serving this community. You don’t need to wait for a public meeting to share your concerns or ask for help. If you know about incidents of bias, or want to talk about any other public safety matter, please contact me directly. I will talk to anyone, anytime. My email is [email protected] or you can leave a message at 845-265-3407.

Larry Burke, Cold Spring

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