Protesting an Almost “George Floyd” Moment on Kenmore Avenue

pictured above: Among those pictured during Tuesday’s protest at Speedway was Eric Martin Sr. (front left)  and activist Charley H. Fisher (right) who, along with the family, is leading the protests. Challenger Photo

On  July 9, Eric Martin Jr., 30 years old,  went into  the Speedway Gas Mart on Kenmore Avenue   near Englewood  after work, where he purchased gas and two scratch off tickets and went home. 

The next morning  he woke up and realized he had two $50 winners.  Martin, accompanied by his wife and two children, went  back   to the  store  the next  day to redeem  his prize.

 Instead he experienced  a near “George Floyd* moment.”

Appearing on the   Buffalo On Fire   talk show last Saturday morning on Power 96.5 WUFO Radio, Eric Martin Sr. his father,    called it  a “nightmare situation,”  and said that he was  “still in disbelief”  over what happened to his son. “If it happened to us it can happen to anybody,” the  well known entertainment  promoter in WNY  added.  “It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”

Here’s the scenario he shared:                                                                                                                        When his son Eric Jr.   and his family went to redeem his winning tickets,  he was paid  $50  for one ticket and told the second ticket didn’t register.

The manager   asked him  where he got the ticket from.  He told  her that  he purchased  it at their Speedway establishment  the day before.  At  one  point the police were called and    seven police officers showed up  – including   three detectives.

“Four   police  officers   and three detectives show up on a call   for a Black man with a scratch off!?!” exclaimed Martin.

They asked for his ID and he questioned why, insisting that he had   a right to ask,  but was told   “we ask the questions around here. ”  The young Martin, ultimately produced  his ID which showed that he lived right around the corner   from Speedway in  a home  he and his wife had  just recently purchased. 

Speedway where the incident occurred on Kenmore Ave ( Buffalo ny) challenger photo

You would think right about now  common sense would kick  in continued Eric Sr., but   then  they tell him they want him to go  with them to the police  station.  His son  initially rebuffs the “offer” explaining that he’s  never been in trouble before.  “You mean like you want me to get into the back of the police car?  Or do you want me to meet you there?” he said paraphrasing his son.   They say no, we want you to get in the back of the police car. Eric still wants to know why and points out that he has his wife and children with him.   

Now it gets physical. They  cuff him. He’s standing up in handcuffs  and defenseless  when four  officers pick him up and slam him .He’s still  handcuffed. Now they’re on top of him.  At one point one of the officers  appears to be doing a martial arts maneuver on his ribs while another officer has his elbow  on Eric’s neck and he’s trying to cover his   mouth.  

This and more, he said,  is all on  video.

 “When I get there my son is already gone. They’ve   charged him with resisting arrest and possession of stolen property,” Eric Sr. noted.

-Protest-

What’s not on video is what happened to Eric when he was taken  to the Tonawanda Police Headquarters on Sheridan Drive, said activist and close family friend Charley H. Fisher who has been leading  the  protests in front of Speedway since last week.

 “There he  was stripped-searched in the presence of a female officer,” Fisher revealed.     

 -Apologies Ring Hollow 

Eric Sr. called  (Speedway) corporate and talked to  them and they gave him  a case number and said the would get back to him. They also viewed the video.

“ A  few hours later I get a call from the Tonawanda police  saying they wanted to apologize, that they made a mistake and wanted to drop all the charges against my son,”  said Martin.

“But their apologies ring hollow,” Fisher  added.  “This  (protest  and call  for justice) is for Little 8-year-old Trevor, Eric Jr.’s son,  who saw his father being accosted by police and subdued   – he’s traumatized.

“This has also been a teaching moment,” the long time community activist  continued.

“Eric Martin Jr.  must know there is a recourse to this racist…. insensitivity to our people. ”The family has retained an attorney and  protests near  Speedway  continued this week. 

(Note: The  Martins say they have reason to suspect there also  may be a scam operation taking place at that location and want the manager fired. * George Perry Floyd Jr. was the Black  man killed during an arrest after allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis.He was handcuffed, slammed  to the ground. A   white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as he died pleading for his life  Two others held him down.The video of his murder went viral and led to world-w ide “Black Lives Matter” protests which stil continue).