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Two cousins found guilty in riot after Lockport fireworks display

A Lockport City Court jury convicted two men Friday in a riot that erupted July 2 after a fireworks display.

Jason Richardson, 31, of Continental Drive, was found guilty of resisting arrest.

His cousin, George A. Richardson III, 27, of Sweet Home Road, Amherst, was convicted of resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

After the five-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Holly E. Sloma and Peter M. Wydysh said the verdict reaffirms that police only were doing their jobs.

Wydysh said sentencing has been scheduled for July 2 -- the one-year anniversary of the riot on Trowbridge Street.

The disturbance erupted just after 10:30 p.m. as people began filing out of the Fourth of July fireworks show in nearby Outwater Park.

At the time, police were investigating reports of people with fireworks.

One charge of disorderly conduct was dismissed against George Richardson, and two charges -- obstructing governmental administration and unlawfully dealing with fireworks -- were dismissed against Jason Richardson.

Both defendants had said they were attending a family party at their grandmother's house.

Prosecutors said police were outnumbered as nearly 50 to 100 people gathered and some tossed rocks and bottles at them.

At one point, 75 officers from departments in both Erie and Niagara counties, as well as state troopers, were summoned to quell the disturbance.

Authorities accused George Richardson of throwing a beer bottle at Lockport Officer Eric Herrington.

Officers said they had seen fireworks thrown at cars and found fireworks in Jason Richardson's SUV, but failed to prove the charge in this case.

Both men fled from police, authorities said.

In closing arguments, E. Earl Key, who represented Jason Richardson, and Julian C. Johnson, who represented George Richardson, said the case hinged on the word of police against that of their clients.

"This case was about a lack of evidence," Key said after the verdict. "The most serious charge of obstructing governmental administration was dismissed, so they really said he had no reason to be arrested in the first place. So once he was placed under arrest, he resisted."

Johnson said he was disappointed in the outcome.

"I tried to tell the jury that [the case] was at best, questionable. I also think there was a lack of evidence. But you never know with a jury. You put it in the hands of six people, and they often see things different than you," he said.

Ulford G. Jenkins, 36, of Trowbridge Street, faces trial May 2 on charges of obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

Charges against others in the case have been dismissed.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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