Articles for Geoff Kelly

Jun 16

2020

Union shares Buffalo police contract

Today Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told reporters that it was the responsibility of the city’s police union to make its contract public. “Why doesn’t the media ask the police union to make the contract public?” Brown said. “Why are the requests always of the city?” Well, the union did release it — yesterday. The Buffalo Police Benevolent Association forwarded a copy of the contract to Investigative Post so that we and our partners at WGRZ-TV could analyze it.  The document is 382 unwieldy pages, comprising agreements, amendments, arbitration awards and memoranda dating back to 1986.  “The union contract is a[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 12

2020

Online petition seeks Brown’s resignation

A group of local community activists have launched an online petition demanding the resignation of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. The activists say Brown has failed to show leadership in the two weeks since demonstrators took to the streets to protest police brutality. The petition states: From the start on Saturday, May 30th, protestors were met with lines of militarized police. Cops were armed with rubber bullets and tear gas while helicopters occupied the sky and armored vehicles occupied the streets.  Among the results, the petition continues, were assaults on activists Myles Carter and Martin Gugino — the latter attracting national[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 11

2020

Buffalo’s police watchdogs are toothless

The City of Buffalo has three separate police oversight boards, but they’ve done little, if anything, to bring bad cops to heel.  One can’t. It’s an advisory panel with no power beyond its voice.  One won’t. It’s a subcommittee of the Common Council that seldom meets and does not investigate police misconduct.  And the third, a commission mandated by the city’s charter and controlled by Mayor Byron Brown, is hopelessly compromised. Of the three, the Police Advisory Board has the least power. But it has advanced far more substantial ideas about how to change policing in Buffalo than the tepid[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 9

2020

Geoff Kelly on “outside agitators” on WBEN

Geoff Kelly reported last Friday on the suspect claims of local politicians and police officials that outside agitators were behind disturbances at anti-racism protests here in Buffalo. Kelly found all but one person arrested in relation to the protests is from the Buffalo area and that much of the so-called intelligence cited by authorities was based on social media posts, not the most reliable of sources. The head of the city’s police union described the allegations of outside agitators as “nonsense” and a “hoax.” Geoff discussed his story Tuesday morning on NewsRadio 930 WBEN. Give a listen.  

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 9

2020

School contract was failure waiting to happen

To hear senior staff tell it, the Buffalo school district never should have gone through with a contract awarded to HarpData to provide wi-fi service to students in two low-income neighborhoods. The firm’s finances were suspect, according to the district’s purchasing director, and the district’s unusual decision to waive a performance bond put the school system in a precarious financial position should the project falter.  There were questions about the propriety of meetings between the vendor and district staff, including the chief technology officer, prior to the project being put out to bid. And there were doubts whether the project[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 6

2020

Mayor defends police, attacks their union

Mayor Byron Brown was interviewed Friday evening by CNN’s Chris Cuomo and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. To both, he lamented the injury to Gugino and praised his police commissioner for quickly suspending the officers and launching an internal investigation of their actions. Brown also defended the Emergency Response Team officers who marched past Gugino as he lay bleeding on the ground, immobile except for eerily slow flexing of the fingers on his right hand. The ERT officers, Brown explained, are trained to keep moving in formation, leaving the injured for medics “embedded” behind their front line. Those medics, he said, attended[...]

Posted 2 years ago

Jun 5

2020

Scant proof of “outside agitators”

Politicians and police have been raising the spectre of “outside agitators” since the day protests began in Buffalo. For the most part, local media has amplified the message: Outsiders are slipping into town to incite violence and destruction.  But arrest records suggest that narrative is not true. And officials allow that much of the intelligence underlying the claim consists of posts on social media, not known as a reliable source of accurate information. There are other sources, authorities say, but they are unwilling to discuss them. And so the phrase — freighted with bigotry, according to UB professor Henry Louis[...]

Posted 2 years ago

May 22

2020

Quintana’s political social distancing

In this season of social distancing, Robert Quintana, candidate for the 149th District Assembly seat, may have set a new record last month. Quintana, the former two-term Niagara District councilman, is attempting a political comeback by running for the seat held by Sean Ryan, who is running for state Senate. One of his opponents, Jon Rivera, challenged the validity of Quintana’s nominating petition.  Among the allegations, Rivera’s campaign accused Quintana’s daughter of fraud — of faking signatures. Quintana’s response: In a court hearing last month, Quintana claimed not to know his daughter, Keila Sabala, had been collecting signatures for him.[...]

Posted 2 years ago