DA making plea to witnesses to speak up about shootings

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Police have asked people to speak up; activists imploring residents to stand up; now the District Attorney is making his plea – asking citizens to say something to help bring forward justice for the victims.

“Too many times, witnesses know who is involved and they refuse to cooperate,” said Michael Flaherty Jr., the Acting District Attorney for Erie County.

Flaherty say this isn’t new and it happens often. Now, it’s starting to hinder police from doing their job.

“We need people to come forward, give statements and tell us what they know,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Dan Derenda.

“Without witness’ cooperation, they [police] have a very very difficult task,” said the D.A.

There have been 30 homicides in the city since the start of the year; 27 remain under investigation.

“Unfortunately, they’re up against a culture of noncooperation,” said Flaherty.

The D.A. says if no one is talking, the investigators face a tough task of building a case against a suspect and then making an arrest is very difficult; if no arrests are made, there’s no case for Flaherty to take to court.

“As a prosecutor, it’s discouraging. It truly is.”

He says he feels for the families. As these cases remain open, they still have questions.

“[This] of course cannot bring back the victim but at least bring some closure to the victim’s family.”

The longtime prosecutor says it’s hard knowing so many homicide cases remain open.

“We owe it ourselves, our fellow citizens, to help the police remove these violent offenders from the streets.”

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