Considering what happened on Saturday, May the 14th I have, for the most part, maintained a level of silence. Honestly, my emotions have been everywhere. I am hurt, saddened, angry, and in pain. Some of you are aware that for almost two years I was the manager of the Family Dollar next door/across the street from Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, NY.
For almost 2 years I pleaded for the Buffalo Police Community Officers, activists, pastors, and other religious and community leaders to get involved because of the increasing rates of crime and violence in that area. I even offered to pay out-of-pocket for events in hopes of their presence in that community. I inquired about how to get on the community officers’ rotation of driving around the area. My efforts, unfortunately, caused me to be looked at as a problem. I was considered a troublemaker for calling 911 for help when unlawful things happened.
When BPD officers would eventually respond to the calls, I was told by many that there was nothing they could do! I can’t make this up. Officers that did not look like me did not want to document the incidents nor give us a report number. They saw me as the problem for reporting and making the calls.
October 2021 I was accosted and shot in the Family Dollar Store on Jefferson Avenue that I managed. The response time was slow and once the two BPD Officers, (that did not look like me) that I had encountered many times previously, showed up and sat in their patrol car until I, the shooting victim, came out of the store. I can’t make this up. These were the same officers that felt I was the problem for calling and reporting the crime in the area. They hushed this up. In fact, they even accused me of shooting myself.
There is so much more that I could share, including what happened to the last two Security Officers at Tops Friendly Market prior to the most recent who lost his life engaging fire exchange with the active shooter on May 14, 2022. The numerous call logs and reports of the many incidents that are documented for that area will validate what I am saying.
Is it possible that something as traumatic and traumatizing as this event on Saturday, May 14, 2022, could have been prevented if the BPD, which talks about community policing had listened? Is it possible that if this community was on their rotation to patrol that this catastrophic event could have been avoided? After all, the shooter targeted this area, with knowledge of average police response time. Is it possible that this could have been prevented? Knowing what I know… I believe it very well could have been. I am not the only one. I speak the sentiments of others who work and/or live in this area as well.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
-Dr. MartinLuther King