Rally Planned in Response to NYS Troopers Caught Assaulting Disabled Black Woman

ALBANY — On Tuesday, June 7th, a rally is slated to take place in Albany, NY in response to a Black community organizer who was filmed being violently arrested by New York State Troopers last month.

The incident in question took place on May 17th, as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the New York State Capitol to demand passage of legislation meant to protect families from unjust evictions.

During the demonstration, several protestors were arrested for “disorderly conduct” and various other charges after police ordered the crowd to disperse from the building’s inner corridors and what’s commonly referred to as the “Million Dollar Staircase.” At least 50 people sustained arrests; among the first was Salka Valerio — a lead organizer working for the non-profit Citizen Action of New York.

The first two arrests ordered by S.I. Marcus Walthour were Black women.

Valerio’s arrest (seen here) sent much of the crowd into a frenzy, prompting several attendees to intervene on her behalf. One of those attendees, Nate Hotchkiss, was also arrested while attempting to shield Valerio from the attacks of law enforcement. Valerio — who has long suffered from chronic pain and limited mobility stemming from a car accident — was injured during the arrest.

In footage, Senior Investigator Marcus Walthour, can be heard ordering troopers to target and arrest Valerio among a sea of protestors. Walthour and his subordinates then proceed to chase Valerio down, pin her against a wall, and knock her to the ground while onlookers plead for them to stop.

A clip of the attack can be seen below (WARNING: Graphic Violence):

Jessica Wisneski, Co-Executive Director at Citizen Action of New York released a statement following the incident which reads in part, “One of our staff members was violently arrested by Capitol police today while participating in a demonstration in support of housing justice.”

The statement continues:

“Four Capitol police officers chose to use violence against Salka. After a tense verbal interaction with a Capitol police inspector, Salka turned and walked away in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. The [inspector] followed her. Then three officers threw her to the ground and the chief inspector joined the assault.”

A protest has been scheduled to align with Valerio’s arraignment in Albany on June 7th. Community members are being asked to attend the arraignment at 1 Morton Ave at 8:30am, followed by a rally and speak-out at the NYS Capitol at 10:30am. Details of the events can be found here.

Nate Hotchkiss was arrested and charged with several misdemeanors for his role in protecting Valerio.

Additionally, organizations across New York are being asked to sign on to a letter to the Governor’s office demanding all charges be dropped for Valerio and the 50+ arrestees from May 17th, along with the immediate firing of Senior Investigator Marcus Walthour.

Donations can be made to Valerio’s legal fund here: PayPal, Patreon, CashApp

This story is developing.

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