Following Monday's protest that halted the Columbus Day Tournament of Marching Bands Parade in downtown Binghamton, Mayor Rich David is condemning the organization PLOT (Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow) and their actions and is challenging other local leaders to do the same. 

At a press conference on Tuesday, David said the group takes an anti-law enforcement stand and has been attempting to "divide the community." David alleges that the group posts celebratory posts on social media when members of law enforcement are killed or injured in the line of duty. Surrounded by members of the Binghamton Police Department, David had some strong words about the community organization. 

"For too long I think this group has been able to operate in the darkness, in the shadows with nobody really taking a position or standing up to them," says David.

David also alleges that PLOT was behind the claims of police brutality and racism in an incident at the YWCA last year. After viewing video surveillance, the YWCA Board President issued a written apology to the Binghamton Police Department, saying the Binghamton organization acted on "incorrect and incomplete" information from community members who were not part of the YWCA and found the claims to be false.

While everyone has the right to peacefully protest in public places, David and Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski explained what about Monday's protest crossed to line into illegal territory. David says it was when the group formed a human chain to block parade traffic that led to four being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

"If they were on the side and were holding up banners or something like that... it's a public event. But you don't have the right to interfere with the event," says David. 

The protesters had been on the sidewalk carrying a banner that read "remember all our murdered relatives." When Broome County Sheriff's vehicles came down the route, that's when they jumped into the street to protest inmate deaths at the Broome County Jail. 

Minutes after the protest, PLOT sent an email to media organizations explaining the goal of the protest. They say it was a planned block of the parade for ten minutes, one minute for every inmate life lost at the jail since 2011. On Tuesday, PLOT posted on Facebook to say that the mayor and media inaccurately attributed the protest to them and that it was a combined group of community members who took part. 

The City of Binghamton also released the names of the individuals charged in the incident. All four arrested will be arraigned next Monday.

  • Masai Andrews of Endwell
  • Erik M. Goetz of Endicott
  • Sham-Al-Din Yasin Harper of Binghamton
  • Jordan P. Helin of Binghamton

In response to the mayor's challenge to other local officials to take a stand against PLOT, the organization provided Fox 40 with the following statement.

We agree with Mayor David that it is in the best interest of our community for elected officials to publicly condemn the work of those combating oppression and state violence, if they are compelled to do so. That way we know which side they're on, and who to hold accountable.

- Binghamton PLOT


In response to Mayor David's request from fellow leaders to stand against PLOT, Fox 40 has received the below statements.

As a father of three young boys I completely understand how this protest frightened children attending the parade. As such, the time and place were not appropriate. Our Broome County residents do have every right to have their voices heard and I support that as long as they are doing so in a peaceful, respectful manner.

- Jason Garnar (D), Broome County Executive


The so-called Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) is well known divisive, anti-police fringe group. Yesterday, PLOT formed an illegal blockage at a community parade and four of their members were arrested. PLOT has brazenly advocated for residents to NOT call police if they are in danger and appallingly celebrated the recent suicide death of a retired NYPD officer. PLOT was also exposed as being behind false claims levied against police officers responding to an incident at the YWCA last year. PLOT's conduct in these matters is disgusting.
Two Democratic City Council candidates, Aviva Friedman (District 4) and Salka Valerio (District 7), are active and well-documented members of PLOT. Valerio participated in Monday's protests. Democratic City Councilman Dan Livingston has attended PLOT events and supported their efforts. Former Democratic Mayoral and County Executive candidate Tarik Abdelazim is also a PLOT organizer.
New Broome Democratic Chair Bridget Kane and elected Democratic officials and candidates need to be clear about where they stand. Do these PLOT-associated candidates have the support of the Broome County Democratic Party?
- Bijoy Datta, Chair of Broome County Republican Committee

While I certainly appreciate and value everyone’s right to free speech, yesterday was about celebrating Italian heritage and an opportunity for student musicians to showcase their talents. 

- Donna Lupardo (D), New York State Assembly


It’s pathetic, but unsurprising that those behind an anonymously-run Facebook page that openly and regularly advocates for the murder of men and women of law enforcement would choose such an obnoxious and disrespectful way to seek attention for themselves. I wholeheartedly support open, truthful and respectful discourse on issues affecting our community, but PLOT stands only for the opposite.

- Fred Akshar (R), New York State Senate