A few days ago, I had the opportunity to watch the Erie County Sheriff’s debate that was held at the Erie County Library and sponsored by Voice Buffalo.
Although the debate went well, I was surprised to see that no one put the question of ‘Why’, to one of the candidates who was suspended from his job as a Cheektowaga officer after he punched a handcuffed, African American prisoner in the face! This candidate has already shown his respect for restrained detainees under his care as a Cheektowaga Police Officer. What will he do to allay these concerns as sheriff, when over 75% of the Erie County Holding Center residents are Black and Brown people.
The Cheektowaga Police Dept has had a long, troubling relationship with young Black men from Buffalo. For years, they have been stopped by the town’s police as soon as they hit the Cheektowaga Harlem Road/ Walden Avenue border. It is unknown if the Cheektowaga officer, who is a candidate for sheriff, participated in those illegal stops; however it seems that he did nothing to discourage the harassment to our young and older Black men on the Eastside of Buffalo.
What is even more disheartening is the fact that the Cheektowaga Police Department is refusing to release the personnel folder of the 2017 incident with Officer Gould and the arrested detainee. What are they trying to hide about this incident and how many more of these incidents are there in his yet to be disclosed records?