Poloncarz condemns ‘racist comments’ after Galleria fights

Local News

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB)- At the formal signing of new smoking regulations Friday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz seized the opportunity to answer an off-topic question about the dramatic events which unfolded Wednesday evening at the Walden Galleria.

“The comments were just downright awful.” said Poloncarz, who added that he doesn’t condone the violent behavior that was captured on cell phone video, but he says what bothers him the most was the flurry of social media comments he has seen since then about the teens who got in fights.

“Some of the same folks who say that these are ‘animals’ and ‘these people’ and we ‘shouldn’t have them in our community’ will not ay the same thing when there’s white people getting into fights at Bills games.” Poloncarz called it a double standard. “If you do have the right to say that, then I and other people have the right to call you out for what you are; a bigot and a racist, and the rest of this community is better than you.”

Murray Holman also has some perspective on what happened Wednesday. He’s a member of the Peacekeepers, a volunteer organization which up until last year would help patrol the mall around the holidays free of charge. “We used to be at that mall years ago and we cleaned it up real good, and now here it is, the bubble has been burst. The same thing came out again.”

Holman says the management at the Galleria this year didn’t seem willing to reach any formal agreement to bring the Peacemakers back, so they haven’t been patrolling this season. “That situation should’ve been looked at differently. You gotta look at Facebook because most opf these fights are already posted. So that’s why we’re here in front of this monument here to let you know that Martin (Luther King), we did a lot of for him and it’s not just about going out and fighting each other. Fight for some rights, some humanity stuff, but not to fight just to be fighting.”

Cheektowaga Police Chief Dave Zack said on Thursday that his department has a strong relationship with the Peacemakers. he thinks they could play an important role moving forward at the Galleria. Any agreement would have to be approved by the Pyramid Company.

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