BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A report filed with the Buffalo Police Department alleges Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was involved in a domestic dispute last Saturday that culminated with a woman screaming for help.
Poloncarz disputed the woman’s version of events in an interview with News 4, describing the situation simply as a bad breakup that never became physical.
The woman, whose name is being withheld due to the nature of the accusation, alleged Poloncarz “became irate and grabbed her, restraining her body against the window” after he realized she was looking at text messages on his phone. The woman reported that she escaped and ran outside, where Poloncarz allegedly grabbed her again, causing her to “scream for help.” At that point, Poloncarz allegedly left the area.
The woman said the incident took place at her Buffalo home around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. She did not report it to police until Monday.
“It was a long discussion we had. It was heated at times, but no, I never grabbed her, I never did anything like that. Not at all,” Poloncarz said. “I don’t know why she would’ve gone to the police.”
Buffalo police confirmed to News 4 that they filed a Domestic Incident Report on Monday. Poloncarz said he was not questioned by police, which BPD confirmed.
Buffalo police said the complainant chose not to pursue charges.
Law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys, in New York are required to pursue charges independent of a victim when the incident rises to the level of a felony.
“Under New York State Law, the complainant has to file the charges given the level alleged in a domestic incident,” a spokesperson for the Buffalo Police Department said.
Poloncarz, 55, has been the Erie County Executive since 2012 and is running to be re-elected in November. Before being elected to his current role, the Democrat and Lackawanna native spent six years as the Erie County Comptroller. Poloncarz was married in 2005 but got divorced five years later, telling the Buffalo News in 2011, “It just didn’t work out.”
Republicans were quick to go on offense after the news broke. Chrissy Casilio, who is running against Poloncarz for Erie County Executive, called for “an immediate investigation by the District Attorney or an independent prosecutor outside of Erie County.”
Erie County Republican Party Chairman Michael Kracker went further and added a call for Poloncarz to step down, saying the report was “deeply troubling” and displayed “sickening behavior.”
“As an elected official, Mark Poloncarz has demanded zero tolerance for this behavior,” Kracker said. “His personal actions contradict his rhetoric. He failed to live up to his own standard, and the standard the people of Erie County deserve.”
In response to calls for him to step down, a spokesperson for Poloncarz told News 4 that the county executive is focused on his current work.
“What took place was a personal matter and will not distract Mark from continuing to grow Erie County’s economy, cut property taxes even further, and ensure vital services are there for our residents,” the spokesperson said. “Mark is focused on delivering for the people in Erie County.”
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office said it was aware of the police report but was limited in what it could do because the accuser declined to pursue charges.
“Our office’s Special Victims/Domestic Violence Bureau will proceed with an investigation should a complainant decide to file a criminal complaint in the future,” a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s officer said.
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.
Dave Greber is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.