Tag: City Hall

Nov 25

2022

Investigative Post’s groundbreaking police coverage

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Geoff Kelly wrote a couple of blockbuster stories for us over the past week involving allegations of racism in the Buffalo Police Department. One was based on depositions given by retired police commanders in which they acknowledged use of the N-word by officers and a failure to properly train, supervise and discipline cops working on special street units. The other story was based on a federal lawsuit in which officers accuse their captain of making racially derogatory remarks about Black officers and justifying racist attitudes among whites. These revelations were shocking, to be sure. But given Investigative Post’s reporting on[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Nov 15

2022

Disturbing police testimony demands action

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The toxic culture that permeates the Buffalo Police Department is now in the open. The use of the N word by cops. A lack of training to stop police from doing the wrong thing, and lack of accountability when they do. The allegations aren’t being leveled by department critics. Rather, they’ve been described, under oath, by police themselves, including those in supervisory positions. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No. Investigative Post has been reporting on problems within the department since 2016. A lack of proper training. A failure to investigative citizen complaints against officers. The unconstitutional practices of special street crime units.[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Nov 14

2022

Testimony: Buffalo cops use of N word not uncommon

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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

Oct 25

2022

City holding millions in other people’s money

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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 20

2022

A city Buffalo can learn from

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Buffalo and Durham, North Carolina, are similar in some key ways. They both have about a quarter of a million residents. About four in 10 are Black. They also share a problem — a lack of trees in Black neighborhoods.  But Durham’s response — to develop a comprehensive tree planting plan — contrasts with Buffalo, which is cutting down as many as four trees for every tree it plants in East Side neighborhoods. The result: Durham is planting more than 1,500 trees a year, compared with about 300 in Buffalo. In fact, Durham planted more trees last year than Buffalo[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Oct 19

2022

Federal dollars could help re-tree East Side

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The City of Buffalo spends a lot of money — $568 million this budget year.  Most of it is spent on cops and firefighters. Very little is spent on planting and maintaining trees, which play an important role in the health of city residents. In fact, the city’s population of trees is shrinking, as two trees are cut down for every one that is planted. Help could be on the way, however.  The federal government has earmarked $1.5 billion under the Inflation Reduction Act to pay for the planting and maintenance of trees in urban centers. The money will be[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Oct 18

2022

Activists sue Buffalo over Council redistricting

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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

Sep 28

2022

Raises (but no reforms) for Buffalo police

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Buffalo police just got a raise. The city got nothing — no concessions, no reforms — in exchange. That’s the upshot of more than three years of negotiations between the Brown administration and the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, whose contract expired in July 2019. When talks stalled in early 2021, the dispute put in the hands of a state arbitrator, who was empowered only to deal with pay.  Reform — the mantra of demonstrators and elected officials alike in the summer of 2020 — was sidelined. On July 19, a state arbitration panel awarded Buffalo police raises and retroactive pay worth[...]

Posted 2 months ago