Words & Photos by Josh Brokaw
This reporter doesn’t make a habit of listening to the scanner and going to emergency calls — the bleeps and bloops followed by terse reports of sad happenings have a shake-making effect on your correspondent, like the reaction of everyone but the most hardened caffeine addict to a quadruple espresso shot from one of our local coffee purveyors. Generally, police and fire reports are well-covered in Ithaca’s media anyways; why be redundant? It’s not like clicks make TruthSayers any money — we’re entirely reliant on the donations of readers like you, my partner paying the rent, and my willingness to ignore calls from Navient while taking a wry delight in the deterioration of my credit score.
But occasionally, when one opens up the Twitter and sees a policeman outfitted like the one below on South Hill, a few steps away from our office at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, it seems prudent to go out and check up on what a SWAT call looks like. TruthSayers readers were quite interested earlier this year in what gear our local SWAT team buys with federal funds.
— Tom Garris (@tgarris3) November 27, 2017
Fortunately, the SWAT call yesterday didn’t end in tragedy. This reporter arrived at the south end of the blockade, manned by a Cornell University PD officer, around 2:30 p.m. The subject of the search was being escorted into an IPD cruiser about that time, as best this reporter could see through a Sony mirrorless camera equipped with a 135 mm Pentax manual focus lens.
According to a neighbor of 521 Hudson Street, who had some explanation from police, a girlfriend was at the property when the subject, one Mr. Blackman, arrived, and she called the police on Mr. Blackman, who was wanted on a drug possession charge. The homeowner was not home. According to the official report, reproduced below, Mr. Blackman “barricaded” himself in a bedroom and refused to talk with any officers, leading to the SWAT team being called out.
Police on site weren’t particularly pleased with this reporter cutting through the South Hill Elementary parking lot to grab a couple photos, but I surmised that if parents with children were walking through the elementary school’s Hudson Street lot and the subject had already been escorted into a police vehicle, the danger was over.
The SWAT truck and a Humvee that this reporter, along with Jolene Almendarez of the Ithaca Voice, had not seen before, were staged along with several patrol cars further up Hudson Street in the entrance to Pearsall Place.
A BRIEF PROMOTIONAL BREAK
TruthSayers is a start-up organization that hasn’t sold any advertising, secured any grant funding or figured out fancy accounting stuff like “incorporation.” Maybe we’ll figure that stuff out someday – and we’d love your help with that if you have expertise in those areas – but right now, your contribution of cash money goes to keeping the website online, to equipment expenses, to gas money, and other occasional necessary purchases as founding editor Josh Brokaw sees fit – who’s doing this on a pretty much volunteer basis so far. Any money you can spare after clicking on this link would be helpful in keeping this independent reporting project going.
The Voice has much clearer photos of the SWAT team walking up the hill; there you can see them walking the treaded robot like my grandparents walk their Shih Tzus. The equipment I had not seen before is that big old tube held by the man at the back of this pack – any readers have an idea what that big son of a gun is?
A few minutes after the SWAT team and other police personnel left the scene, before the SWAT truck was even rolling downhill, a handyman was putting door hardware back into the apartment’s front door.
Here’s the official public report sent out by the Ithaca Police Department at 4:36 p.m. on Monday.
If you want to help TruthSayers report on issues of public safety and law enforcement, email email@example.com.
See something happening? Be a reporter – take a photo, take a video, send it to us or send us a link where you published it.
Help Support TruthSaying Reporting
If you ever have photos, video, or reporting from an event you’d like to share on TruthSayers, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be a reporter! Or a photographer! A filmmaker! A webmaster! You can support TruthSayers‘ work with a donation, too, at the link. Funds go toward equipment, web hosting, and throwing a few bucks to founding journalist Josh Brokaw so he can keep reporting local news in Tompkins County and the surrounding region.