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Sheriff Howard on Protestors: Misinformed

Says Issues Prompting Sit-in, Arrests at Holding Center " Do Not Exist"

May 25, 2017 - 2:31 pm

(WBEN) Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard says protestors who jammed the lobby of his offices yesterday are misinformed about the true conditions at the Erie County Holding Center downtown and the County Jail in Alden.      

The group "Showing Up for Racial Justice in Buffalo" organized three protests against Sheriff Tim Howard yesterday.  When the day was done, nine of the group had been arrested.

The group says there's a lack of accountability for deaths and poor conditions in county jails. They want Sheriff Howard fired.
At an event to recognize that the office's SWAT team's first place finish in a statewide competition of other like units (pictured above) , Howard addressed the protesters concerns, saying that they had a right to express their views, but not to disrupt business or keep people from entering the facility.

"I continue to support everyone's first amendment rights, " Howard said, adding that"what's unfortunate is they are very misinformed about the issues they are coming to our office to protest... the issues that they are coming to our office to express, do not exist," Howard said.

"For them to suggest there is a culture of abuse in the jail, it just doesn't exist. But I can't convince them of that." he said

Hear Howard's Remarks:

Protesters made it inside the Erie County Sheriff's Office yesterday and started chanting "black lives matters" before four were arrested.

Afterwards, they set up a protest in front of the Erie County Holding Center. Some sat down and blocked the doors to the building.  Five were arrested there.

On their Facebook page the group is trying to arrange yet another protest sometime today outside the Buffalo City Court Building (Frank A. Sedita City Court) at 50 Delaware Avenue to support those arrested during yesterday's protests.


Related Photos: Erie County Sheriff's SWAT Team in a simulation at their training facility in Alden.  The team was among eight SWAT Teams invited from across New York to participate in Tactical Week and placed first in the competition. The training and competition for the tactical teams included close quarter tactics and team scenarios developed from the 2017 English Parliament and 2016 Orlando nightclub attacks, Howard's office said in a prepared statement.        (WBEN Photos/ Dave Debo)

Above: Teams move into a room after launching a "flash bang" smoke and noise grenade.
Below: simulated room-by-room search.



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