BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –Community activists are calling for change after a man was shot by police during a mental health crisis call. Protesters spent several hours calling on the city to defund the police, saying they’d like to see the city to move funds away from the police department and put it towards mental health and community services.
“I think it’s important for everyone to be out here and call for change. It’s time that this city get it’s act together and we change things up,” said protestor De’Jon Hall.
The shooting happened Saturday during a mental health crisis call near Genesee Street and Michigan Avenue. Buffalo Police say officers shot the 60-year-old after he attacked police with a baseball bat.
Community activists say police should not have been the first to respond to the call.
“We can’t just rush out into the streets when something occurs, we need to sit down and think about it and come up with positive, intelligent solutions to the issues that every community all across this country is facing,” said Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown.
Brown says officers have been taking crisis training since 2016, but the city will be doing more to help people with mental health needs.
“In the coming day, or days. I will announce, additional measures and initiatives when it comes to dealing with mental health situations and community intervention.”
Buffalo Police and the Erie County District Attorney are investigating the shooting and reviewing body camera video. According to police, if the man who was shot recovers, he will face felony charges for assaulting a police officer. He is currently in stable condition.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.