Cariol Horne (left) and India Walton. Street Legacy Photo by Darvin Adams
On the heels of Mayor Byron Brown’s most recent failure to address the root causes of gun violence with effective solutions, Buffalo Mayoral candidate India Walton joined fellow community leader and former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne on Tuesday to offer an alternative vision. Walton and Horne spoke from the corner of Walden Avenue and Harmonia Street, an area of the city that has been plagued by violence and blight as a direct result of disinvestment from the neighborhood under the current administration.
They were joined by members of the community who have been impacted by concentrated poverty, lack of opportunity and gun violence. “The Mayor has recently said that they want to step up law enforcement in communities like this one that we’re standing in as a way to curb gun violence, and we are here to assert that more police is not the solution to the problem of community violence.
The solution to that problem is more resources,” said Walton. “It’s been fifteen years. This didn’t happen overnight, this is generations of poverty, disadvantage, and being ignored and our people are saying enough. We are standing up, we are fighting back, and we are saying no more. We’re going to the polls and we’re going to make our voices heard through our vote.”
“I think [the violence is] directly related to how this community looks. There’s no opportunities for our kids, we need more opportunities, and we need funding. Not for more police officers but for our children,” said Horne. As Buffalo has experienced a surge in gun violence, these crimes largely continue to remain unsolved under Byron Brown’s administration. WGRZ reported that in 2020, out of 303 shootings only 8.2% were solved and out of 55 homicides, only 23.6% were solved.
Walton supports discontinuing the Buffalo Police Department’s role in mental health crisis response and traffic enforcement in order to focus their attention on actually protecting our communities and solving these violent crimes. Walton also supports fully funding and expanding proven public safety programs like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and violence interruption programs like Advance Peace. She believes it’s time to renew our investment in proven crime prevention strategies like youth employment programs and crime prevention through environmental design.
Combined, these programs promote college and career readiness, promote personal management skills, and improve family, health, and community safety by effectively curbing gun violence and the conditions that cause it. When Horne was asked by a reporter why she’s supporting Walton’s campaign against the four-term incumbent Brown, she responded, “Because she’s a mom, and she cares about our community like I do.” The likely decisive Democratic Mayoral Primary takes place on June 22nd, with early voting beginning on June 12th. ( see previous posts online for early voting sites)