Gouverneur police chief says no militarized police or SWAT at rally Saturday
BY ANDY GARDNER and JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
GOUVERNEUR -- Gouverneur’s police chief says there will be no militarized police or SWAT presence at the planned Black Lives Matter rally on Saturday.
Concerned sources contacted North Country Now early on Friday after hearing rumors that the Gouverneur Police Department may have been planning to deploy rooftop snipers, SWAT or other militarized police for the demonstration.“There are a lot of rumors. No militarized police presence or SWAT,” Gouverneur Police Chief Laurina Greenhill wrote in response to an emailed request for comment from North Country Now.
Local activists are planning to march in downtown Gouverneur on Saturday in the name of Treyanna Summerville, an 18-year-old who was murdered earlier this week. A 13-year-old has been charged in connection with the homicide.
Local Black Lives Matter activists are planning to gather at 1 p.m. beginning at 180 E. Main St. in Gouverneur. Organizers say the march will travel to the police station and rally outside.
DA Mum on Investigation
The St. Lawrence County's District Attorney's Office is investigating the murder, but the county’s top prosecutor is reluctant at this time to reveal how far reaching the probe might be.
Community members have raised concerns about the murder and the arrest. Several claims regarding abuse in the home have been reported by local media in interviews with people who knew Summerville.
District Attorney Gary Pasqua says he can't comment on details of the investigation, but confirmed it was ongoing.
Recent reports in local media have included claims that police and the Department of Social Services had been notified on various occasions regarding abuse within the home.
In a report from WWNY 7 News, Summerville's stepbrother Isiah Samuels gave detailed accounts of incidents involving bats, knives and belts. He said his stepmother Lashanna Charlton, who is Summerville's birthmother, was charged in March of 2013 for child endangerment.
Pasqua said he could not confirm whether or not the investigation would be looking at how the Department of Social Services or local police handled the alleged reports, but said he was aware of the claims.
"I can’t answer any of the questions you posed specifically. However, I will say that my Office is aware of all of the allegations surrounding this matter and we are investigating every aspect of this case," he said.
A candle light ceremony was also held recently in Gouverneur where community members grieved Summerville’s death and celebrated her life.