BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Police are investigating an incident during Friday’s social justice march in north Buffalo.
Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo confirmed Sunday that a report on the incident had been filed and that a detective was working on it.
On Monday afternoon, police released an update, saying 47-year-old Michael Cremen of Franklinville had been taken into custody and charged with harassment, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing. The menacing was charged as a hate crime based on the use of racial slurs by Cremen.
According to a complainant, Cremen was in the middle of the street at the intersection of Hertel and Parkside, using racial slurs and threatening protestors.
Police say at one point Cremen displayed a knife and pushed one of the protestors. A police report was filed and an investigation began on Friday.
Detectives interviewed witnesses over the weekend and identified Cremen.
He turned himself in Monday afternoon to detectives and was issued an appearance ticket.
Capt. Rinaldo said there were traffic officers on the scene blocking the intersection, and it’s being looked into whether they were aware of the threat.
Mayor Byron Brown addressed the incident on his Sunday morning radio show:
“Just recently, we saw a situation on Hertel Avenue with the protests that took place on Friday, where there was a guy that was yelling racial slurs. I want to just indicate, that was not a permitted event. The police were not asked to be there. With the public protection detail, and with the operational units of the police department, we had a large number of police officers there. We called in 13 police officers on overtime. There were no injuries. There was no damage to property. And so we think that was a success. Now after the fact, the police department got a complaint from someone who was a protester from that person’s house saying they were threatened by a guy who was yelling racial slurs, and who brandished a knife. Our police department is interviewing the complainant today. Our goal, we’ve already reached out to the district attorney’s office is to charge that individual with menacing, with harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon. So the Buffalo Police Department is on top of that.”