Police Credit Increased Community Cooperation with Major Arrest

Mayor Brown, Buffalo Police, laud BPD NET and want more cooperation

Mike Baggerman
August 30, 2018 - 3:00 am

Byron Brown joined by other city leaders at the Erie County District Attorney's Office. August 29, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Dana Casullo)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - City of Buffalo officials credited tips from the community as one of the reasons for the murder charges against Kenyatta "Manny" Austin.

Austin, 25, has been in police custody since July 3 when he was arrested on a weapons charge in Niagara Falls. He was charged on Wednesday morning in Erie County courts on four different murder charges, including depraved indifference, following the slayings of Yvette Johnson, 54, and her 17-month-old grandson, Kyrie.

READ MORE: CHARGES FILED AGAINST MAN INVOLVED IN GRAPE STREET MURDERS

"This case was vital," Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. "It was vital, the tips we received, to put this case where it is at today. We are not done. We need more people to come forward. We hope people will see an arrest was made here and that they'll be more comfortable in coming forward and talking to us."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said that tips are increasing since the murders and that more information is coming in.

"We've seen more residents of this community that want to volunteer with violence prevention organizations and parent involvement organizations," Brown said. 

Brown praised the police department's neighborhood engagement team, which sends police officers into communities to walk the beat and talk with neighbors to help close the trust gap between police and community. Recently, Commissioner Byron Lockwood brought his whole management into the community.

"That old culture of silence is beginning to change," Brown said. "The outreach that is being done by the Buffalo Police Department...is literally embedded every single day out in the community. Building relationships and talking to community."

The mayor emphasized that the Grape Street shootings on July 2 and July 26 were both isolated incidents and not part of the culture of Buffalo's Fruit Belt. 

"What we have seen here is an outpouring of response from the community: Shock and outrage," Brown said. "And tips that have come into our tipline. We are asking anyone with information to continue to come forward."

Buffalo Police's Confidential TIPCall Line is 847-2255.

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