Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins Utilizes Authority to Declare Café Hollywood a Public Safety Nuisance and Orders its Immediate & Indefinite Closure
ALBANY, NY – Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Police Chief Eric Hawkins have announced action taken by the City of Albany and Albany Police Department in response to the latest instance of gun violence that occurred during the early morning of Friday, July 23.
Effectively immediately, Mayor Sheehan has declared a State of Emergency in response to recent gun violence in order to suspend Article VIII, Section 255-46 of the City Code, thereby eliminating the requirement for notice and a public hearing in connection with the closure of a business declared a public safety nuisance. This State of Emergency declaration is a direct result of the 22% increase of confirmed shots fired in the City of Albany over the past 28 days as compared to the same period during 2020.
Additionally, Chief Hawkins has declared Café Hollywood a Public Safety Nuisance as defined in Article VII, Sections 255 of the City Code, and has ordered the establishment to close indefinitely, effective immediately. A preliminary investigation by the Albany Police Department indicates there appears to be a connection between Café Hollywood and the shooting incident that occurred early Friday morning on Willett Street near Hudson Avenue. The Police Department continues to investigate that incident and is asking anyone with information to contact detectives at (518) 462-8039. Anonymous tips may also be sent to Capital Region Crime Stoppers by visiting www.capitalregioncrimestoppers.com.
In addition to this morning’s shooting, there have been more than 20 calls for service received by the Albany Police Department regarding Café Hollywood over the past three months, there was a machete attack in early June that stemmed from an altercation that began in Café Hollywood, and a Cease-and-Desist order was recently issued by the City’s Buildings and Regulatory Compliance Department after the establishment was utilizing a non-compliant café patio area.
The City of Albany has also requested the New York State Liquor Authority revoke the liquor license currently held by Café Hollywood as a result of these recent acts of violence.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “As I have said repeatedly, we will do everything in our power to combat gun violence. Café Hollywood has been the nexus of more than 20 calls for service to the Albany Police Department over the past three months, a machete attack, and now a shooting. Whether it is someone possessing an illegal gun, or an establishment harboring those who do, we have an obligation to act in order to prevent imminent and immediate harm to our residents, including shutting down those very establishments. We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to find those who use illegal weapons, arrest them, and put them in jail for a very long time.”
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said, “Over the last few months, the Albany Police Department has observed a pattern of violent acts associated with Café Hollywood on Lark Street, including last night’s shooting incident that left a man with serious injuries. After careful consideration, and in an effort to keep our community safe, I have declared Café Hollywood a public safety nuisance and have ordered for the establishment to be closed. While there is still much more work to be done, I’m encouraged by all those in the Albany community who remain engaged and continue to work with this police department to enhance public safety and quality of life in our city.”
6th Ward Councilmember Richard Conti said, “I commend Mayor Sheehan for taking decisive action to address this latest incident of gun violence. As a community we need to work together on many fronts to address issues of public safety including dealing with venues that prove to be problematic.”
Text of the State of Emergency Declaration can be found below, and here is a signed copy of the State of Emergency Declaration.
DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR THE CITY OF ALBANY
WHEREAS, gun violence poses a serious threat to the health, safety, and quality of life of every resident and visitor of the City of Albany; and
WHEREAS, in the last 28 days, confirmed shots fired have increased by 22% compared to the same period last year; and
WHEREAS, densely populated communities such as Albany in New York State are disproportionately affected by the direct and indirect consequences of gun violence; and
WHEREAS, densely populated communities including Albany typically experience a spike in gun violence in the summer months; and
WHEREAS, this rise in gun crime threatens and imperils the health and safety of the people of the City of Albany; and
WHEREAS, the City of Albany has an obligation to act in a manner consistent with the science and data on gun violence in order to prevent imminent and immediate harm to communities across the state; and
WHEREAS, this violence threatens or imperils the public safety of the residents of Albany. As Chief Executive of the City of Albany, I have the authority granted to me by the New York State Executive Law, Article 2-B, to preserve the public safety and hereby render all required and available assistance vital to the security, well-being, and health of the people of the community.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, KATHY SHEEHAN, Mayor of the City of Albany, New York, pursuant to my authority under the laws of the State of New York, particularly New York Executive Law §24, and the City Code of the City of Albany, hereby declare a State of Emergency for the City of Albany, New York dated July 23, 2021. The State of Emergency shall remain in effect for thirty days or until rescinded by a subsequent order.
FURTHER, I hereby direct all Departments and Agencies of the City of Albany to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure and other such emergency assistance as deemed necessary.
FURTHER, in the event the disaster is beyond the capacity of the City of Albany to meet adequately, and state assistance is necessary to supplement local efforts to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, or to avert or lessen the threat of a disaster, I hereby call on the Governor of the State of New York to continue to provide additional assistance as deemed necessary.
FURTHER, I direct the Albany Police Department, the Violence Prevention Task Force, the Albany Community Development Agency, and all relevant agencies to take appropriate action to provide such other assistance as necessary to protect the public health, welfare, and safety.
FURTHER, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 24-1(g) of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, during a declared emergency, if compliance with such would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, I hereby suspend Article VIII, Section 255-46 of the City Code effective July 23 through July 28, 2021, thereby eliminating the requirement for notice and a public hearing in connection with the closure of a business declared a public nuisance.
Signed this 23rd day of July, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. in Albany, New York.
Signed: Kathy M. Sheehan
Mayor, City of Albany
Sworn to before me this 23rd day of July, 2021.