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POLICE & COURTS

Steel company considers appealing racial suit award

The international steel company found responsible for racial incidents at its now closed Lackawanna plant is considering an appeal of the $25 million jury verdict reached earlier this week.

ArcelorMittal Steel, in a statement Wednesday, said the verdict far exceeds what is normally allowed under federal or New York State law and that it is exploring its options.

The company condemned the incidents that led to Elijah Turley's lawsuit but repeated its claim that it did all it could to reform the environment at the plant.

"The behavior experienced by the plaintiff is unacceptable to ArcelorMittal management," the company said. "Upon learning of the incidents, management took prompt and documented remedial measures to investigate all internal complaints in an effort to stop and prevent recurrence."

The jury's unanimous decision followed a three-week trial at which Turley, an African-American, testified about a series of incidents during his time working at the former ArcelorMittal facility.

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Autopsy being conducted on body taken from river

The body of a white male recovered from the lower Niagara River just above the Niagara Whirlpool on Tuesday is currently in the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, the State Parks Police announced Wednesday.

Officials said the victim was 20 to 30 years old with dark hair, about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 135 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans, a black belt, black socks and white sneakers, officials said.

Anyone aware of a missing person matching that description is asked to contact the police at (716) 278-1777.

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Two men accused of doing $21,000 damage to cars

Two Williamsville men were charged Wednesday with causing an estimated $21,000 damage to more than two dozen cars at dealerships on Main Street in Clarence three weeks ago.

Chad M. Henning, 19, of Main Street, and Derek J. Schnitzer, 21, of Fox Wood Lane, were arrested by state police on felony criminal mischief charges.

After arraignments in Clarence Town Court, the two were released on their own recognizance.

They are accused of using knives to damage cars on dealer lots the last week of May.

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Arrest made in assault of female cafe manager

A Buffalo man was arrested in the basement of his home just after midnight Tuesday and charged with brutally assaulting a female manager of a Main Street cafe who had filed charges against him last month for allegedly damaging the sign at the business.

Tyree J. Jones, 37, of French Street, was charged with second-degree assault and witness tampering. He is accused of harassing the female manager at the E Cafe shortly before 8 a.m. June 6, Buffalo police said. As Jones was being escorted from the cafe, he allegedly punched the female manager in the face, knocking her to the floor, then kept hitting her until she was unconscious. The victim was treated in Buffalo General Medical Center.

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Woman admits laundering money for cocaine ring

A Buffalo woman pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on Wednesday to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Evalina Stoke, 23, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when she is sentenced Sept. 26.

Stoke traveled to Houston from Buffalo on June 8, 2009, to deliver U.S. currency. She was charged along with 19 others for their involvement in a multikilogram cocaine distribution network, federal prosecutors said.

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Two stopped by troopers have warrants against them

Two drivers stopped by state police Tuesday in Buffalo on minor vehicle offenses were taken into custody after records checks revealed there were warrants.

Joe W. Harris, 58, of Lockport, was stopped on Lombard Street for having a loud muffler but was turned over to Cheektowaga police when a check revealed he was wanted on a felony bad check warrant.

Casey G. Patrowski, 27, of Buffalo, ended up being jailed on drug charges even though he was stopped on William Street for having no brake lights.

A check revealed Patrowski was wanted by Orchard Park police on an a harassment charge, state police said, and a search of his car by troopers produced a marijuana cigarette, two oxycodeine and two hydrocodone pills and he was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

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Two women arrested in consumption of pills

Two Gerald Avenue women are being held on charges of allegedly endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, Buffalo police reported.

Dominique Garey, 34, and Belinda Surncey, 60, were arrested at their home Tuesday and also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Both were accused of consuming a large amount of pills prescribed for a physically and mentally handicapped family member who is under their care.