A series of threats against area police officers have been posted on social media following the Dallas police massacre overnight, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said Friday.
“We are investigating them. Some of the threats are outright and some are veiled. We take all of them very seriously,” Derenda said.
Fearing copycat attacks against officers, police throughout the Buffalo Niagara region are taking extra precautions to remain safe and continue protecting the public, he said.
Anger, frustration and finger-pointing are fueling the violence against officers nationally, said John V. Elmore, one of the region’s leading African-American attorneys and a former New York State trooper. That mix will serve no purpose in the long run, he said.
“There’s not enough rational thought and logical thinking about solutions to the problem between police and the African-American community,” Elmore said. “Violence is the worst answer and is only going to make things worse.”
Elmore expressed sympathy for the families of the five slain police officers and six wounded officers in Dallas.
“I also feel sorry for the families of the African Americans who have lost their lives in police custody or confrontations,” Elmore said.
But he added that police and members of the community often wind up pitted against each other because of larger problems beyond their control.
Socioeconomic problems are at the root of bad relations between police and inner-city residents, said Elmore, also a former prosecutor.
“People can get a quality education in suburban and private schools, and in our inner cities people often get an inferior education. I can say that. I’m a trustee at Erie Community College,” he said. “The other thing is jobs. It is not the fault of people in the inner cities that factories have closed because corporations have gone overseas for tax breaks. People are also living in rundown housing, which they don’t own. So there has to be a lot of social economic efforts put into education and job creation in the inner cities.”
If that can be addressed, Elmore said, “a lot of tension between police and people in the inner cities will be relieved.”
But, he stressed, under no circumstances do people have the right to resist arrest.
And police also have a responsibility, he said.
“There are times when a police officer has the legal authority to use deadly physical force, but that doesn’t necessarily give him the moral authority,” Elmore said.
Members of Black Lives Matter in this area have scheduled a rally for 4 p.m. Friday at Martin Luther King Park.
In one of the posts promoting the gathering, a social media user stated:
“We are having a Black Lives Matter Rally in Buffalo in Solidarity with our Brothers & Sisters in Rochester, NY, as well as across the Country to speak with one voice! We will not sit back silently as our Children, Brother’s, Sister’s, Father’s & Mothers are killed with impunity.
“We demand Equal Freedom & Equal Justice. We are for the humane and just treatment of everyone! We will not die silently....so that you can say we enjoyed it! Bring your signs & bring your humanity as we stand for Justice For All!!!”