ITHACA, NY -- After last week's arrests of protesters in Ithaca and the use of pepper spray on the group, 1,400 people have signed a petition calling for the resignation of Deputy Police Chief Vincent Monticello.?
"We the people of Ithaca implore each other to protect one another by disempowering this police member who willfully disobeyed his own call of duty and endangered Ithacan citizens that night with his reckless, violent, and discriminatory behavior," the petition states.
The petition includes video that shows Monticello defending a man who told a Black protester to "just die, go kill yourself," telling the protester that his group was the one agitating the situation. Monticello then arrested the Black protester for "obstruction."
The person filming the video continually asks why the protester is being arrested, but is told by Monticello to leave or he'll be arrested next. The video then cuts to later in the day outside of the police station, where a small group of protesters is blocking a squad car and demanding the release of the previously arrested protester. That protester is then arrested by Monticello as well for obstruction. You can view the full video on the petition's page.
That was the impetus for the larger gathering that evening, where protesters descended on the police station and were eventually pepper sprayed. Police put out a press release that night, clarifying they were trying to respond to a shooting when the squad car was blocked earlier that evening.?
Mayor Svante Myrick said in a statement that he had referred the incident to the independent Community Police Board for investigation to ensure all actions taken were appropriate. Additionally, he has since invited two more groups to review the video footage.
"Because there is significant public interest, and because transparency and accountability are the values of our organization, I've also invited the NYS Division of Human Rights and the NYS Attorney General to review the incidents on 10/22/20 from beginning to end. I will let you know if they accept that request," he wrote.?