Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick issued a statement Friday about an Ithaca police sergeant who pulled his gun while pursuing four unarmed teenagers last weekend. You can read our full story here.

The entirety of the mayor’s statement is reproduced below.

— Jeff Stein


From Mayor Svante Myrick

You’ll see that last Saturday four teens were pursued and detained by the Ithaca Police Department.

The families of the detained teens are concerned by a number of things.

Among the concerns they’ve expressed:

– that the officer drew his weapon

– the first Police officer was not clearly identifiable because he was out of uniform and in an unmarked car.

– the officer was white and the teens were of color. The families have expressed a concern that racial bias may have been a motivating factor in their detention.

The Ithaca Police Department routinely provides excellent and equitable service to the entire community – and I won’t jump to conclusions or presuppose that any officer acted improperly.

But I do take the concerns of the affected extremely seriously.

As a mayor I’m motivated to ensure that every citizen of Ithaca feels that the Police Department is there to protect and serve them.

As a black man I’m well aware of the history of violence between the police and young men of color – see most recently the tragedy in Ferguson, MO – and motivated to ensure that this pattern does not play out in our City.

So on Wednesday I met with the parents of the affected teens, Police Chief John Barber, Alderperson JR Clairborne, GIAC Director Marcia Fort, and GIAC employee Travis Brooks.

We had a positive and productive meeting and the parents laid out a number of concerns. They also posed some good questions. Questions that need answers. And in important ways their version of events differed from the version the officers have shared.

So we’ve immediately launched an internal investigation to be conducted by Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Christopher Townsend.

We are also opening a second, parallel independent public investigation with the Community Police Board.

Once we have a more complete picture of the incident we will take every appropriate measure.

Until the completion of the investigations I’d like to thank the Community for their concerns and urge patience. Thank you.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.