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Taylor: City will act to ensure safety

Albany celebrated the Fourth of July with a fireworks extravaganza. Thousands of people attended the event which took place downtown.

Albany celebrated the Fourth of July with a fireworks extravaganza. Thousands of people attended the event which took place downtown.

ALBANY, Ga. In a memo released to city employees and the media, City Manager James Taylor says that the city will renew efforts to make community gatherings more safe and is asking for public's support and input to make it so in light of Wednesday's fights that led police to abruptly end the Independence Day fireworks show.

The memo, which was written with the title, "Challenges of Today...Hope for the future," outlines Taylor's thoughts and plan-of-action following the fights and subsequent arrests of those who police believe participated in or instigated the fracas that prompted the event to be cut short.

"We refuse to have our community defined by one incident, we are moving forward and ask that

the community move forward with us. We will determine what happened and take action to fix

the problems. Our plan is to continue to serve the community with more events; however, given

what we know, we will make some changes. Some of these changes will take time and others will

cost money, but I think it is important we proceed to make future events downtown safer than

ever, and we ask for your help and continued support," Taylor writes.

After the fight, 17-year-old Desmond Sadique Warren was charged with carrying a pistol while under the age of 18, officials said. Two teens were arrested for fighting and each was charged with disorderly conduct. Cantonese Javar Kennedy, 17, and Antwon Johnson, 19, were each released on less than $130 bail, a Dougherty County Jail spokeswoman said. Warren remains in jail in lieu of $1,000 bail, she added.

Surveillance video, obtained Friday by the The Albany Herald and posted at albanyherald.com, shows people running from the area around Turtle Grove Play Park around 9:40 p.m., before police began clearing the area.

In his memo, Taylor reminded his staff of what he said were the "facts" of the incident:

  • There were no shots fired nor was anyone stabbed;

  • The fight was limited to a group of unsupervised juveniles;

  • City officials and police officers were unable to adequately communicate what was happening to the crowd which led to widespread misinformation and panic.

As a result of the disruption, Taylor says that city officials learned things that they will use moving forward with future events, including better crowd control, restriction of juveniles in participating in events; better lighting for problem areas; improved communications; working to eradicate loitering of those who aren't actively participating in the events and development of a special events risk management plan to plan for disruptions like weather or other unexpected events.

In the memo, Taylor also points to the fact that, for more than 20 years, the city's fireworks show downtown has gone on without any major incidents until this year and that downtown events like Mardis Gras, Flint Fest and Albany State University's Homecoming Parade routinely bring in large crowds without major incidents.

"We ask for an opportunity to earn your confidence again, judge us by what we do going forward, not

by the misconduct of a few," Taylor writes.

Taylor also writes that, going forward, the public should understand that city-sponsored events are not a "childcare service," and that city leaders will consider special provisions to prevent future disruptions including the development of a "special events curfew" for minors.

Comments

ontario1966 2 years, 5 months ago

A 17 year old with a Gun? Sorry but I have to say it? PROSECUTE the PARENTS also!!!!!

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

If it had been a white child, the bond would have been $100,000 as it should be with anyone. $1,000 is ridiculous.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

what about the $130. Yeah that'll teach 'em.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

"We refuse to have our community defined by one incident". Sadly that ship has sailed years ago. We are just lucky the 17 yr old did not feel he must fire his gun. One gun caught, how many were not? Albany squeaked by a disaster this time. Hopefully the Community will stand with Mr. Taylor and prevent the next trouble before it can start.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 5 months ago

A risk-management plan for public gatherings in Albany? What happened to law and order? What happened to community policing? What the city officials do not understand is the urban decay engulfing the town. You cannot change the socio-economic conditions there. Now I understand why NW Albany wants to secede from the rest of the city.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

“A risk-management plan for public gatherings in Albany”? What if this is another miss-managed program by Albany Officials? How about a RISK Elimination Plan. Personally I would rather see a plan of prevention than just a wishful plan of being able to Manage the Risk.

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Albanite 2 years, 5 months ago

Any serious plan involves moving the events away from ASU and the downtown area and charging a nominal fee for admission.

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TD31707 2 years, 5 months ago

Free events do seem to lead to problems.

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billybob 2 years, 5 months ago

Cantonese? Really? You named your kid after an Asian language. Listen, black people. Stop saddling your children with these ridiculous names. When you name your kid something like that, they are starting behind the proverbial 8 ball.

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MisterEd 2 years, 5 months ago

Winner winner chicken dinner. All you have to do is look in the Sunday Birth Announcement, and you can easily identify over 90% of the new babies as black based upon the stupid spelling of their names. Of course, you could also see that approximately that same percentage of babies only list the mama. Baby Daddy is nowhere to be found........or not known.

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Blaqueknight316 2 years, 5 months ago

Cantonese? Well, I would not name my child that either, however, if a child is raised without supervision and lacks character you could name him Jesus Christ and the outcome would be the same.

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billybob 2 years, 5 months ago

yeah but if the child is raised properly and has his resume in a stack of others, and another resume is equally qualified and they one has the name Michael Roberts and the other is Quantavious Roberts, guess whose candidate number 1.

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Blaqueknight316 2 years, 5 months ago

We can deal with the resume and qualification later...we should keep our eyes on the problem at hand right now and that is how do we keep a few thugs from stopping a family event enjoyed by thousands. I refuse to give up.

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bigbob 2 years, 5 months ago

Yep, the Albany city manager is a day late & a dollar short. How pathetic is this when the leader of the town will ask for more money to make downtown events safe. Isn't that why we pay such high taxes to police, sheriff, etc. This city has no chance with these leaders, NONE.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

First of all, the comment about ASU was uncalled for. These people are not students at ASU. They are a product of the Dougherty County School System. Second, Albany should not be defined by this one incident. Albany is defined every time a store is broken into, a home invasion occurs, a drive by shooting happens. The only crime that has been solved in the last month was the Phillips Pawn Shop break in AND that was because of the owner and not the crime. I don't know what the answer is but I do know I will NOT be going downtown.

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FryarTuk 2 years, 5 months ago

Who was the crazy judge that set these bonds so low? Having created such a melee the thugs ought to have been charged with major civil disobedience and weapon violations. The judge should be identified and hounded from office. This is a major reason for lawlessness in Albany. Officials are not doing their duties! If these thugs knew they would feel the sting of justice in Albany they might not change their ways, but they would go elsewhere to do it. The officials in this community are not protecting us. They are protecting their own gravy bowls and fiefdoms. The disorder, lawlessness and corruption of the controlling leaders in our civil agencies are providing the examples, climate and permission for the antisocials to violate laws. Setting a bail at $130 or $1000 for having a gun at this type of function is criminal in itself. Who is the judge that did this? His or her name should be published. Did they call Murfree to go their bail? James Taylor tells us it's going to cost more money for civil obedience policing. Cancel the event then, we couldn't afford it in the first place. The good news is that it doesn't have to cost more money. The bad news is that improvement will only be possible when major changes to the organization of our city and county governments are instituted. That doesn't appear possible given the unwillingness and selfishness of the current elected officials.

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rightasrain 2 years, 5 months ago

The leaders of Albany have been given opportunity after opportunity, infinite m to "earn the confidence of the community". No more. These types of incidences only reflect the criminal activities of those in authority; for instance, the Dougherty County School Board, criminal activity of some school board members, cheating teachers, lying teachers, racists black preacher/politicians, a city police department infected with less than desirable officers, a city commission interested in two things...promoting racism in the city and spending our money with impunity. Give you another opportunity? No way; it's just time to lock and load and protect yourself.

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fireworks 2 years, 5 months ago

J.D., I THINK THE D.A. SHOULD HAVE THE MEDIA AT THESE COURT DATES, REQUEST THE MAXIMUM PENALTY INCLUDING JAIL TIME & FINE, I AM WITH MR.TAYLOR ITS NOT GOING OUT THIS WAY. ITS TIME TO TAKE THE CITY BACK, I WOULD ALSO HAVE THEM WHERE SIGNS IN FRONT OF THE COURT HOUSE TO IDENTIFY WHO THEY ARE. THE PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN ARE TIRED OF THE CRAP. EVERYBODY WAS HAVING A GREAT TIME AND IT ONLY TAKES A HANDFUL OF IDIOTS TO DISRUPT IT. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE BEST SHOW, AS YOUR VIDEO SHOWS,. A.P.D. MADE THE RIGHT CALL. WE CAN FIX THIS IF EVERYONE GETS INVOLVED TO DO SO. THE D.A. HAS TO REQUEST THE MAXIMUM FINES AND OH YEA HAVE THE PARENTS JOIN THEM IN FRONT OF THE COURT HOUSE, ONCE THEY ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE THIS WILL GIVE THEM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.

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Blaqueknight316 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree 100 percent.....I cannot believe we will let a handful of thugs cancel an event that thousands of people were enjoying.

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tocar 2 years, 5 months ago

The truth is that downtown Albany at the so called Riverquarium and Turtle Grove are not safe at any time. This concept of revitalizing downtown Albany and Albany Tomorrow is a joke. We have thuds who won't allow it to be a safe area. If the city would quit spending monies for things like the fireworks and entertainment downtown then there would not be a place where the thugs will gather. Why should the taxpayers support areas that are not safe for decent people? We are tired of supporting the thuds. They do not have any ambition, morality or responsibilities.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

Serving long hard time in prison performing good old fashioned hard labor and nothing but bread and water is the only way to curve these bad habits. You have to make it to where they never want to go back to prison. Prisoners have it way too easy these days. It caters to their lifestyles of not working or being a productive citizen.

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dingleberry 2 years, 5 months ago

I've known Jim Taylor for a lot of years. He is a good person and is basically doing a good job in a city with many problems. But our problems run so deep that Jim, or any city manager, can only skim the surface. We have raised, and are raising, a generation of thugs and criminals who have no regard for the law and no respect for others. Look at the jail report in the Herald , the most wanted on television, and the first 10 minutes of the nightly news on WALB and it is obvious that we are in trouble.

We go too easy on those who break the law, starting with the very young. We give too many second, third, and fourth chances to the point that there is no concern for the law. There is always another chance for redemption. Parents are not doing their job and we have got to start holding them accountable for the actions of their children. We need to quit using the excuse that "he was a good boy but made a mistake" when he pulls a pistol on a clerk at the neighborhood "stop and rob" convenience store.

Those who are 17 to 19 and are involved in an incident such as this are not "kids". And one having a pistol at an event like this is very serious since we have shootings most nights these days. While as Jim said, we should not let an incident like this "define our community", it has in fact done so and there will be many who won't be going to large gatherings after dark in the future. Unfortunately, it will be the better families with children who won't be the future criminals that will be the ones paying the price.

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waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

Why wasn't Desmond charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit? Why wasn't he charged with possession of a weapon at a public gathering? The way to stop folks from carrying guns is to enforce each and every law available to the maximum. Show them that carrying a gun will get you long jail time, and if drugs are involved, it should be Federal jail time. Then see that they get placed in a prison where there is little possibility they will get visitors due to the travel distance involved. The Thugs in Richmond Virginia took the hint, and quit carrying firearms due to the additional jail time involved. Until someone proves to these wanna be THUGS it isn't worth it, they will continue to carry firearms.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

I've definitely seen better, more interesting movies.

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