The mayor with Chief John Barber.

Ithaca, N.Y. — At a packed City Hall meeting Wednesday night, Mayor Svante Myrick apologized to the parents of two Ithaca teens for “the breakdown of the investigation” into a controversial Aug. 10 incident.

Myrick did so after the teens’ mothers criticized the mayor in front of a few dozen protesters. The protesters — who numbered more than 200 before the meeting was moved inside — were on hand to criticize alleged police abuse.

Myrick said police should have followed up with the teens about why the sergeant drew his gun instead of asking them about a pair of arsons that occurred an hour beforehand.

“It was a miscommunication on our part and it was wrong,” Myrick said.

Here’s what happened, as relayed by GIAC’s Travis Brooks in a previous story:

After the incident, the parents and police agreed to set up a time for the internal affairs investigators to talk with the teens about what had happened.

But then the family was told the boys would be questioned by a juvenile detective about the arsons that occurred about more than an hour before their detention.

The family then refused, worrying that their boys would be exposed to a criminal investigation.

Mayor: ‘It was wrong’

Mayor Myrick appeared to accept that timeline after the mothers gave a tearful speech Wednesday night.

He explained to the City Hall crowd that the interview was transferred from the internal affairs investigator to a juvenile detective. But, Myrick appeared to say, the juvenile detective didn’t know that the interview was not supposed to be about the arsons.

Myrick said the boys should be interviewed outside the criminal investigation into the arsons.

“We have no reason to believe your sons were involved in the arsons. We have no evidence linking them to it and they’re not considered persons of interest.”

“I want to again apologize for that miscommunication.”

This meeting is ongoing. For live updates, see here.


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Jeff Stein

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