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India Walton's supporters rally in support of Democratic candidate

India Walton's supporters rally in support of Democratic candidate

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Buffalo News Protest

Betty Jean Grant talks with reporters outside of the Buffalo News Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

At a small rally Wednesday for Democratic mayoral candidate India Walton, supporters said she was unfairly maligned in a Buffalo News report.

"Ms. Walton provided a safe house," said former Common Council Member Betty Jean Grant, surrounded by about 20 other Walton supporters, who gathered across the street from The Buffalo News building in downtown Buffalo to protest the paper's coverage of Walton.

The Buffalo News reported Tuesday that in 2018, Buffalo police investigated complaints about a man suspected of dealing drugs from her home on Lemon Street and that the owner of the house demanded Walton move out after confronting her with complaints.

Neither Walton nor the man were charged with any crimes in connection with the complaints.

Grant told reporters and Walton's supporters Wednesday that many people in Buffalo's poor neighborhoods, including Walton and herself, try to provide a safe place for young people to go. She said there are few places for youth to gather safely in the city and that many community centers close by mid-afternoon.

"Ms. Walton has been treated as a criminal," Grant said. " ...  I think if she was a white male and won the primary she would have been treated differently."

Walton did not attend the event Wednesday.

Grant, who ran unsuccessfully against Brown four years ago, criticized Brown's plan to wage a write-in campaign in the Nov. 2 election.

"There's no such thing as a write-in candidate," Grant said.

Maki Becker

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