Community leaders call for end of police brutality in Syracuse

A coalition of community leaders is calling upon the City of Syracuse to put an end to alleged police brutality.

At a news conference inside a boxing ring at the Faith Hope Community Center on Syracuse's near south side, United as One, brought attention to the complaint of police brutality brought by 20-year-old Elijah Johnson.

Johnson claims he was severely beaten by four Syracuse Police officers during his arrest on July 6. Johnson was among 11 people arrested by police trying to break up excessive partying in the University Hill area.

According to reports, police claim Johnson threw a rock at the police, which Johnson denies. Instead, Johnson says officers beat him while he was handcuffed.

United as One says the alleged beating represents "culture" within the Syracuse Police Department. John Johnson, Elijah's father, told reporters he has "deep concerns over the practices of the SPD. Mayor Miner must make changes in policies and practices."

The organization also brought up other complaints of brutality by 51-year-old Alonzo Grant, who claims he suffered numerous facial injuries and a concussion during his arrest on June 28 when he called police to help quell a domestic dispute. Reverend Dr. Micah Dexter said he and his wife were also assaulted by police officers when he called them in January to investigate an intruder at their home.

"Letâ??s sit down and do something about police brutality." Dr. Dexter said.

Barrie Gewanter of the New York Civil Liberties Union blames the police department's "use of forceâ?? policy which she says gives officers to right to use any level of force they deem necessary.

Gewanter called upon Mayor Miner to enhance the use of force policy.

The organization is asking people in Syracuse to come forward with their stories of alleged police misconduct and have set up a series of meetings at the Faith Hope Center in September.

They also are co-sponsoring a "citywide town hall meeting on Syracuse Police brutality" on August 25 beginning at 6:00 pm at the Southwest Community Center.

A spokesperson for the Mayorâ??s office told CNY Centralâ??s Jim Kenyon â??We arenâ??t going to be able to comment at this time.â??

A spokesperson for the Syracuse Police say they cannot comment because of a pending lawsuit.