Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News
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Matthew Spina

I'm a staff writer at The Buffalo News and a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State who grew up in the great town of Schenectady, N.Y.


Police departments in almost two dozen towns and cities across the state tried to dodge Freedom of Information requests seeking information about their use of force, complaints about alleged brutality, racial profiling and the use of surveillance technology, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which sent out the FOI requests. The Civil Liberties Union says …

A  judge recently sealed Sheriff Timothy B. Howard's deposition in the case of an inmate who died at the hands of his jail deputies. But his deputies' testimony about the death of Richard A. Metcalf Jr. remains in the public record. They say they knew little about how to apply the device that strangled Metcalf – a "spit mask." Yet they put one on him anyway. Sg…

Incumbent Byron W. Brown still holds a commanding lead over his two Democratic primary challengers as he seeks a fourth term as Buffalo mayor, according to a new survey by the Siena College Research Institute and Spectrum News. Forty-nine percent of the 512 likely Democratic voters contacted last week told Siena researchers they support Brown. While City Comptroller Mar…

In their fast-paced back-and-forth at the WNED-TV studios on Wednesday, Mayor Byron W. Brown and challengers Betty Jean Grant and Mark J.F. Schroeder lost track of some rhetorical details. http://buffalonews.com/2017/09/06/live-watch-buffalos-mayoral-debate/ Here's how The Buffalo News assessed the truth of some of their statements: Schroeder, the Buffalo city c…

July 19, 2006: Marlon Clay, 35, died of asphyxiation in the Erie County Correctional Facility after choking on two bags of contraband tobacco. He had been in custody since the previous September. Jan, 23, 2007: Michael G. Roberts, 49, threw himself over a Holding Center railing and fell about 15 feet. The West Seneca resident had been charged with felony sexual abuse …

For months, Erie County's lawyers protected Sheriff Timothy B. Howard from questioning in a lawsuit focused on the death of Richard Metcalf Jr., an inmate who a state agency says was suffocated by jail deputies in November 2012. The county's lawyers lost the battle in recent weeks when the judge presiding over the case let Metcalf family lawyers depose the sheriff, who …

Weeks ago, an inmate hanged himself in the Erie County Correctional Facility. A corrections officer cut him down, and frantic efforts began to revive him. A prison employee phoned for an ambulance, taking care not to use the words suicide, suicide attempt or hanging when speaking with a dispatcher. Someone needs help for an “air obstruction,” the employee said, a…

The Grand Island motorist who choked an Erie County sheriff's deputy in a harrowing attack one year ago pleaded guilty Friday to attempted murder. The motorist's female companion, who jumped into the fray, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Sammy Abdellatif, 23, faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison when County Judge Kenneth F. Case sentences him  Oct. 2…

The criminal case is over, and federal prosecutors say they have no problem with the public seeing video of a defendant's brutal mistreatment inside the City of Buffalo cell block. But for a second time, a judge has decided Mayor Byron W. Brown may conceal the government record that shows one of his employees inflicting bloody punishment and two of his police officers d…

A former deputy at the Erie County Holding Center, who pleaded guilty to an assault charge that sprung from an off-duty encounter with a woman, was told Tuesday he would receive no jail time or probation for the crime. Mark C. Conboy, 30, had an otherwise clean record and resigned from his job because of the conviction, one of his defense lawyers told State Supreme Cour…

One bloody scrape trailed from her left eye to the corner of her mouth, where it met a wide bruise on her chin. More blood-red patches marred her nose, forehead and the skin between her eyes. Bobbie L. Mael of Lockport says in legal papers that her arms and legs were bruised, too, and she suffered a concussion when an Erie County Sheriff's deputy threw her face first on…

An inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility was crying as he ended a telephone conversation Wednesday morning. He went into the shower area of his housing unit and hanged himself, a well-placed prison source said. A guard found the inmate and cut him down, but efforts to revive him using CPR were not successful, the prison source said. "This was a clear-cut ca…

A robber struck a convenience store at 975 Abbott Road early Saturday, a clerk told Buffalo police. The robber carried what appeared to be a gun, but it was covered with a black plastic bag. He told the clerk he'd shoot her if she didn't hand over cash. He made off with about $50, according to a police report of the incident.

Someone didn't want a tow truck driver to repossess an auto early Saturday. Police are treating the incident as a case of criminal mischief and harassment. The tow truck operator told police that shortly after midnight he tried to hook a car in the 400 block of Stockbridge Avenue, not far from Buffalo's Bailey and Kensington Avenue intersection. Someone then ran from…

Richard A. Metcalf Sr. has waited four and a half years for the criminal justice system to address the homicide that took his son's life in November 2012. "Obviously, the whole process has been very tedious, very frustrating and very painful to my wife and myself," Metcalf said. "It doesn't get any easier." A breakthrough may be near. An outside district attorney …