Activists discuss community-police relations in Buffalo

"This isn't history - this is current."

Brendan Keany
July 01, 2020 - 6:40 am
Cariol Horne

(WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

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BUFFALO (WBEN) - As Cariol Horne stood in front of Buffalo Police headquarters yesterday to introduce Cariol's Law to the public, several of the activists who gathered in support of her spoke to the topic of community-police relations within the city.

The main message? Buffalo officials need to do more.

"There's a lot of angry people out here in this community, and the elected officials need to step up, and they need to get on the ground - they need to leave City Hall and they need to get on the ground," said one activist, who also added an ominous warning for the city if relations don't improve. "I just want to let the media know that Buffalo is one match strike from being burned down. This is the next Minneapolis waiting to happen if something does not change."

Prominent community activist Myles Carter doesn't believe the steps taken by the administration have done enough to foster real systemic change within the Buffalo Police Department, as he called for legislation that prompts more accountability.

"Posting a policy online doesn't do anything to solve the actual issue," Carter began. "We need something with teeth that will actually enforce the law, that will actually enforce good police work, that will enforce good behavior.

"There's people alive today who marched with Martin Luther King; there's people alive today who went to segregated schools," Carter continued. "This isn't history - this is current."

While this wasn't in direct response, this press conference came just one day after yet another incident involving a Buffalo Police Officer that was caught on video and shared extensively on social media, where an officer called a woman an obscene name.

Mayor Brown reacted to the video, but he believes, as a whole, the Buffalo Police Department remains a positive institution.

"I did see it - it was incredibly disappointing - it was something that should not have occurred," said Brown. "Commissioner Lockwood took the appropriate action...as soon as the video was brought to his attention, Commissioner Lockwood immediately suspended the officer without pay and opened up an internal affairs investigation.

"The department is not in disarray," Brown added. "It is a good police department, and a majority of our officers are doing the right thing."

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