Friends, family and supporters of Darryl Mount Jr. crowded into the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting Tuesday night in search of an explanation how the 21-year-old Malta resident ended up in Albany Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and brain damage.
The answer may never be truly known — police think there weren’t any witnesses to or video footage of Mount sustaining his injuries, which they speculate were the result of a 20-foot fall from scaffolding early Saturday. He had been chased onto the scaffolding by city police officers who witnessed him slam a woman’s head against a wall, according to Police Chief Greg Veitch.
Before the City Council meeting, more than 60 people gathered in front of City Hall on Broadway and chanted about seeking justice for Mount, with some wearing shirts displaying their message. The crowd shouted demands for answers, rumbled about an independent investigation and encouraged passing cars to honk in support.
Darryl Mount Sr., of Gansevoort, said the protest was about more than just his son, alleging city police officers beat minority suspects. Explaining why he thought police caused the injuries to his son, he said, “I know my son. … He had trouble, but we all had trouble. He is a great kid, a kind kid.”
He wants an outside agency to look into the injuries suffered.
“I want internal affairs from out of town,” Mount said.
After the city council meeting, Veitch said he didn’t fear an outside investigation.
“I stand by the credibility of the investigation that was done,” he said. “I think that we’re looking for all the facts. We are trying to follow up every lead that we can. We take all allegations of police misconduct seriously.”
Veitch also reiterated his promise to interview anyone with knowledge of Mount’s injuries, adding he would go to a lawyer’s office if a person didn’t feel comfortable talking at the police station in City Hall.
The City Council meeting grew heated after the public comment period, when Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen began addressing concerns and promising a thorough investigation. The crowd, unsatisfied with his statements, began muttering complaints that gradually escalated to shouts at the council.
During the public comment period, city resident Joy King acknowledged some police officers are wonderful, but highlighted the fact that she has personally witnessed unsettling behavior by officers. She recounted a 2007 event when officers, she felt, used unnecessary force in subduing two teenage girls.
Guy Pierce, 48, of Saratoga Springs, spoke about being beaten by police just last weekend, when he was arrested for resisting arrests and false personation, both misdemeanors. Veitch said the allegations made by Pierce will be investigated.
Veitch also noted instances in the last two years in which officers accused of misconduct had been dealt with.
“I don’t think anything has been shoved under the rug or hidden,” he said.