Police contact Buddhist Monk to counsel agitated neighbor
Linwood Place, Utica NY—Our neighbor ‘Joe’ was arrested peacefully the evening of January 2, 2023. The stand-off began with a domestic dispute call from 1115 Linwood Place, right next door to the offices of For The Good, Inc. and Phoenix Radio at 1113 Linwood Place.
Police were called and the street was blocked off from incoming and outgoing traffic. Numerous police vehicles from various departments cordoned off the street. SWAT was called and snipers were mounted on tops of buildings.
Neighbors were advised to stay in their homes. Our DJ on the air at the time, Bobby Bounce, was told he could not leave the building. No one at that time knew exactly where the problem was or who was involved. Vague news reports went on the local airwaves. Yellow tape went up. Neighbors and foot travelers from the Hope House began to gather and rumors began to fly.
Texting with Police Chief Mark Williams towards the end of the event, I was able to discover that our neighbor, ‘Joe,’ had barricaded himself and his wife in their bedroom. He was armed with a knife after a domestic dispute; ‘Joe’ had accused his wife of cheating on him.
Chief Williams let me know this was not the first time police were called to the residence. Three months ago a shotgun was removed from the home.
Whereas rumors began that Joe had killed members of his family and police had tear-gassed the house to force him out, in fact all three of the young adult children had left the home. By this time, in actuality, our good neighbor ‘Joe’ was threatening to kill himself.
Instead of lobbing tear gas — as was rumored — or taking our Asian neighbor out with a sniper shot, the Utica Police Department instead called in a Buddhist Monk to talk our distraught neighbor down from his troubled state and surrender peacefully to the authorities.
I had spoken earlier on The Hot Seat (my nightly Utica Phoenix radio program) about another UPD takedown on South St. on Saturday afternoon, New Year’s Eve. I was present with a group of Asian Americans outside of Minh Htet Win Market at South and Steuben, watching the incident wrap up.
The group at Minh Htet Win told me the “Black kid the cops had surrounded and had on the ground had a gun.” A foot chase was mentioned. I saw no violence, and no struggle or issue with the officers moving the arrested man off of the ground, up against the wall, or into the car. There was no loud shouting either. We all stood watching about 50 feet away. There were people from the Hope House across the street, also watching. No one questioned the police. They handled the situation with professionalism and we all went on our way.
I also mentioned on air that there were an abundance of police cars and personnel at both scenes. The Black youth they disarmed was already detained in the car when two more police cars arrived on the scene. I questioned —and do think — that there is a tendency to over-staff the scene with fire and manpower from time-to-time.
Nonetheless, Chief Williams and the Utica Police Department has skillfully handled two separate and potentially tragic incidents right outside my door. Both resulted in two arrests within a couple hundred yards of each other — only two days apart — without harm to the perpetrators, the police, or bystanders. We at The Utica Phoenix want to applaud the UPD on their excellent work and keeping our neighborhood safe.
If this is the new standard that the UPD is putting forward in 2023 on how to de-escalate conflict and deal with crime, then it looks like it’s going be a good year.