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No charges to stem from accusation against Niagara Falls councilman

A Niagara Falls councilman will not be charged after a September incident in which he was accused of falsely identifying himself as a police officer after a crash.

The accounts given to police by Councilman William Kennedy II and the driver and passenger of the other vehicle about what happened in a McDonald's drive-thru aligned on nearly every detail, Niagara Falls Police Chief of Detectives Kelly J. Rizzo said.

They differed on whether Kennedy said he was a cop. Kennedy told police he identified himself as a "public official," Rizzo said.

The incident happened at about 12:20 a.m. Sept. 14 at the McDonald's on Pine Avenue near 18th Street.

Video shows the female driver back into Kennedy's vehicle, but their interaction after the crash occurs outside the view of the camera, Rizzo said.

So the case would have been a "he said, she said," according to police.

Kennedy did not respond to requests for comment. His attorney, Nicholas A. Pelosino Jr., issued a brief statement Saturday.

"Bill fully cooperated with the police investigation 100% and the police made their own conclusions as to what did and what did not happen," Pelosino told The News.

Members of the Niagara Falls City Council are issued badges as their official city identification. In a previous interview with The Buffalo News, Kennedy referenced the badges given to Council members but would not tell a reporter whether he showed it to the other driver.

He told police that when he was talking with the other driver, he took out his wallet and his badge was visible, Rizzo said. That's when the other driver asked if he was a police officer.

"I specifically told her I was a city councilman," Kennedy previously told The News.

The passenger of the other vehicle, who was wanted on a warrant, fled the scene.

After the incident was made public Sept. 21 on a Niagara Falls-based website known as the Niagara Reporter, Kennedy took to Facebook and declared he would "welcome" an investigation, adding that he had "nothing to hide."

He also said he was the victim of a political attack, asserting that there were things the other driver said and did that made him believe the incident was made public for political reasons. He declined to elaborate.

Kennedy, a Democrat elected to the Council in November 2017, turned his Council badge into City Administrator Nicholas Melson before he was interviewed by police. Kennedy brought an attorney to the police interview.

Rizzo said he will recommend the other four Council members also turn in their badges and have the city issue them an identification card instead.

Niagara Falls councilman accused of identifying himself as a cop

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