BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Earlier this year, the FBI still ranked Buffalo as the 11th worst in violent crime of all major cities. Some say, enough is enough and something needs to be done.
Hundreds showed up for an anti-violence summit in Buffalo Wednesday night at the Frank E. Merriweather Library, but in the packed house, some key leaders were missing. The mayor of the city and Buffalo's police commissioner were nowhere to be found. Organizers of the event say letters inviting both men were sent out in advance and then followed up with phone calls.
Now the mayor's political opponents are stepping up, and are wasting no time firing rounds of criticism with both barrels.
Sergio Rodriguez, the Republican mayoral candidate, said, "They're out of touch. They're simply out of touch. It's an administration and a police commissioner that are disconnected with the community they're hired to serve."
Rodriguez says Brown and his administration want to pretend crime is not an issue.
"It's an embarrassment that the police commissioner, the leadership of the Buffalo Police department and the administration chose not to come to an event that clearly the community is very concerned about," he said.
And former FBI agent and supervisor Bernie Tolbert, who is running in the Democratic primary against Brown, says by not showing, it sends a message to the community that "we don't care."
"This is a very serious issue that confronts our community," he said. "The police leadership not being there and the mayor's office not being there, I think it's a mistake. The citizens deserve a better product than that."
Wednesday night's summit was well attended by members of the community, some suburban police departments and members of the clergy.
The spokesman for Mayor Brown issued the following statement:
"Buffalo police attend hundreds of meetings regarding public safety. We are always grateful to see others step up and get involved. At the end of the day, we all share the same goal which is to make our city as safe as it can be."
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