Articles for Geoff Kelly

Dec 2


Cop accused of racist rant is suspended

A Buffalo police captain accused of delivering a racist rant at police headquarters in May has been suspended without pay. Two Buffalo police officers and a mental health specialist filed a lawsuit in federal court on Nov. 21, alleging Captain Amber Beyer — head of the department’s Behavioral Health Team — made a series of offensive remarks in the team’s offices at police headquarters. Among the things she is alleged to have said: Black officers are more likely to be unfaithful to their spouses than white officers. All the male Black officers she knew cheated on their wives. White police[...]

Posted 2 days ago

Nov 30


Councilman recalls racism as a cop

Add Niagara District Councilman David Rivera to the list of Buffalo police officers who have described a racist “culture” within the city’s police department. In an interview with Investigative Post two years ago, Rivera — who chairs the Common Council’s Police Oversight Committee — remembered the thrill of joining the Buffalo Police Department 30 years ago. “When I came on from the Academy, I was excited,” he said. “I wanted to hit the street running. I wanted to get in the police car, I wanted to patrol, I wanted to answer calls. I wanted to stay busy.” He was quickly[...]

Posted 4 days ago

Nov 22


Lawsuit: Police captain went on racist ‘rant’

A Buffalo police captain told officers she supervised that Black cops were more likely to cheat on their wives than white cops. The captain said she’d be suspicious if she saw a Black man in her neighborhood. She claimed white police officers suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from working in Black neighborhoods, but Black officers did not, because they were more accustomed to violent crime. The captain told Black officers they should try to understand how the criminality of Black people justified some racism. These claims are detailed in a lawsuit filed Monday evening in federal court by two Buffalo police[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nov 14


Testimony: Buffalo cops use of N word not uncommon

A retired Buffalo police lieutenant testified in April he’d heard his colleagues use racist epithets when dealing with Black members of the public.  “Probably every officer” had used the “N word” at one point or another, according to retired Lt. Thomas Whelan, a former supervisor with the department’s controversial Strike Force unit.  He admitted he’d used it himself. “Have I ever said it?” Whelan said in a deposition for a lawsuit accusing the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department of racially discriminatory policing. “Yes, I have, obviously. I’m a human being.” Racist language.  Loose oversight and discipline.  Little[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Nov 9


There was no “red wave”

Last month, Assemblyman Pat Burke thought his reelection campaign was in trouble.  The campaign’s polling showed his Republican opponent, Sandy Magnano of West Seneca, running surprisingly strong for a first-time candidate who embraced extreme right-wing positions, ranging from 2020 election denial to Q Anon-style conspiracy theories.  A tracking poll showed fewer than 50 percent of those who responded were committed to voting for Burke, following a barrage of negative campaign ads paid for, in large part, by the state Republican party. The GOP targeted Burke — a left-leaning Democrat originally from South Buffalo, now an Orchard Park resident — as[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Nov 3


Blame the cops and DA, not bail reform

The murder of Keaira Bennefield has become a rallying cry for opponents of bail reform.  Had her husband, Adam Bennefield, not been released after being charged with misdemeanor assault, she’d still be alive, they assert. But a half-dozen attorneys told Investigative Post the fault lies not with bail reform but Cheektowaga police and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. Police and prosecutors could have charged Adam Bennefield with more serious crimes that would have made him bail eligible, befitting the assault on his wife a week before authorities say he shot her to death.  According to Judith Olin, director of[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Oct 25


City holding millions in other people’s money

The City of Buffalo took in $4.3 million from its annual auction of tax-delinquent properties in 2019, the year the Brown administration changed how it handles the money those foreclosure sales generate. Out of that $4.3 million, the city paid itself $700,000 to account for the back taxes and fees that led the properties to the auction block.  That left $3.6 million is surplus, much of which rightfully belongs to the individuals who lost their properties to foreclosure. For them, the money represents their remaining equity after all their creditors — the city, the banks, the utility companies — are[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Oct 18


Activists sue Buffalo over Council redistricting

Buffalo’s Common Council members might have thought this summer’s contentious redistricting was behind it. If so, they were wrong. This afternoon 11 Buffalo voters and good-government organizations filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court, asking a judge to reject a redistricting plan adopted by the city’s Council in July and signed by Mayor Byron Brown in August. The city’s redistricting process, led by the Council, “failed to meet the basic requirements of the law,” the Article 78 complaint contends. Those failures deprived city residents of meaningful opportunities to take part in the process, according to the complaint.    The plaintiffs[...]

Posted 2 months ago