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Niagara Falls councilman accused of identifying himself as a cop

Niagara Falls Councilman William Kennedy II has been accused of identifying himself as a police officer after a crash earlier this month, according to police.

The incident happened at about 12:20 a.m. Sept. 14 in the drive-thru of the McDonald's on Pine Avenue, according to Niagara Falls Police Capt. Kelly J. Rizzo, who said the department is investigating the allegation.

"According to the accident report, the driver of the other vehicle claimed [Kennedy] did identify himself as a police officer," Rizzo told The Buffalo News in an email.

Kennedy says the allegation is false and denies any wrongdoing.

Kennedy on Tuesday told The News that he told the other driver he was a city councilman. He also noted in an interview that he and other council members are issued council badges, but he would not say whether he showed his badge to the other driver.

"I specifically told her I was a city councilman," he said.

Kennedy said the other driver backed into his vehicle and was issued a ticket. The News was unable to confirm whether tickets were issued and to whom.

On Saturday, Kennedy wrote on Facebook that he would "welcome" an investigation and said he had "nothing to hide." His comments were posted alongside a meme that read, "Some people hate you because they're failing at destroying you."

His comments appeared to be in response to a post on a Niagara Falls-based website, the Niagara Reporter, which published an item about the allegation Saturday.

Kennedy, both in his Facebook post and in a phone interview with The News, said he was the victim of a political attack.

"It's amazing to me the lengths people will go to trying to damage one's character all because they want to try and knock people down," he wrote.

He told The News there were things the other driver said and did that led him to believe the incident was made public for political reasons, though he declined to elaborate.

The News was unable to obtain a copy of the accident report from Niagara Falls police on Tuesday. The News also was unable to ascertain the name of the other driver.

Kennedy said he would make additional statements when he's "clean and cleared of this."

Kennedy, a Democrat, was elected to the council in November 2017.

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