Bodycam video shows Saratoga Springs officers not in riot gear when responding to a council meeting

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More fallout in Saratoga Springs following Tuesday’s city council meeting. Now law enforcement agencies are getting involved to clear their names after they say council members misinformed the public.

In several social media posts, Saratoga Springs Police released body cam footage to show the public that officers responding to Tuesday’s council meeting were not in riot gear, as mentioned by several council members.

“At the direction of the Public Safety Commissioner, the following video is being released to dispel misinformation regarding police presence at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023. City Council members incorrectly informed the public that our police officers were wearing "riot gear" and that Saratoga County Sheriff's Office deputies were in the building to make mass arrests. At no time were any of our officers wearing any crowd control equipment. The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office was contacted to assist with calls for service to ensure there was safe coverage for the city,” wrote the police department in a social media post.

The May 2nd meeting was abruptly shut down early following protest from Saratoga Black Lives Matter activists.

The police department released the footage to clear its name after Mayor Ron Kim and other council members said during the rescheduled meeting on Thursday that police officers showed up to Tuesday’s meeting in riot gear.

“I literally walked up in the back stairwell and bumped into three riot-geared police officers, and didn’t even know that they were there,” said Kim during Thursday’s meeting.

The mayor made the comment during Thursday’s meeting, when council members questioned the city’s Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino about the police response and what that’s costing taxpayers.

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement on Monday responding to claims that county deputies responded to Tuesday’s meeting.

Sheriff Michael Zurlo’s statement read, “On Tuesday, May 2nd, the Saratoga Springs City Police Department requested the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department's assistance within the City to respond to residents’ public safety needs. As public safety officers, our priority is to ensure the safety of everyone who lives in and visits Saratoga County. To uphold this duty and to assist our law enforcement partners in the City, I arranged for Saratoga County Sheriff’s Deputies to be present in the City, so they could quickly respond to an emergency situation should Saratoga Springs residents or visitors need assistance that evening. Saratoga County Deputies were never inside the City Hall building, nor were they in the City for the City Council Meeting; the only role our deputies had in being in Saratoga Springs on May 2, 2023, was to do what we do every day-keep our residents and visitors safe.”

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