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A New Plan For Policing Downtown Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Business owners and clergy met with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and police brass Tuesday night to go over a new policing strategy in the city. Mayor Brown says the timing of this, days after the mass shooting that killed four people and injured four others, is pure coincidence.

"Would you say this is a wake-up call of sorts, to get things rolling?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked the mayor.

"I don't think it's a wake-up call at all," Brown responded. "I think we have been working on these issues."

After taping a few set-up pictures the media was asked to leave the meeting. The mayor wouldn't outline any of the new ideas, but did say the city needs to spend money more wisely and collaborate with other organizations better to make this new system work.

"How big of a role is prevention going to play in this?" Boose asked the mayor.

"Prevention will play some role, prevention is important," he replied.

BPD Lifts Lock Down at True Bethel Baptist, Ferry-Grider Homes

BUFFALO, N.Y. -Buffalo Police searched all cars coming in and out of the Ferry Grider homes; but contrary to other media reports, an arrest has not been made in Saturday's shooting rampage at the City Grill.

The Reverand Darius Pridgen tells 2 On Your Side the Buffalo Police placed his church in lockdown as a search for a suspect in the City Grill shooting was apparently taking place nearby.

Pridgen tells 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing that police were supposedly searching the area of the Ferry-Grider Homes which is located directly behind his church on East Ferry between Grider Street and Donovan Drive. That area was also placed in lockdown for a time.

A resident of Ferry-Grider said Buffalo Police were going through all of the apartments and were looking for an "African-American male, bald, between 25-30 years old". The resident said police told him the suspect may have been "hiding out" in the housing development.

Buffalo School District Among Worst In U.S. In Graduating Black Males

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WGRZ) -- A new report that examines black males in public education ranks Buffalo the 5th worst large school district in the country when it comes to graduation rates among African American men.

"Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education" analyzes data from 2007-2008 and shows only 25 percent of black males in the Buffalo City School District graduated on time.

"That means that three quarters of the black male students in Buffalo do not graduate with the kids they entered ninth grade with," Michael Holzman, research consultant with the Schott Foundation, said. "That's very bad. That's very bad for them. It's very bad for the country."

M&T and Santander Reportedly Talking Again

BUFFALO, NY (WGRZ) -- Merger talks between Buffalo based M&T Bank and Spanish lender Santander are reportedly back on.

Forbes, The Financial Times and Bloomberg are all reporting that talks between M&T and Santander, which does business in the U.S. as Sovereign Bank, rekindled last month.

The Financial Times says negotiations have not yet resolved the issue of which entity would control the combined business, if the two banking giants agreed to merge.   

Two months ago, 2 On Your Side reported previous talks between the two entities stalled because M&T did not want to give up control.  At that time, sources told us M&T is more interested in growing than selling off assets. 

Fear of "Snitching" Keeping Shooting Witnesses Quiet

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Some community leaders admit there's a code of sorts on the streets to not "snitch" about any crime you might have witnessed.

A police tip-line billboard on Buffalo's west side is a perfect example of that. Someone spray painted on it "stop snitchin'".

Darnell Jackson is a former gang leader who now heads up a group where kids clean-up the east side. He says everyone he has talked to about this case claims they wouldn't say a word if they saw something or had information that would help authorities.

Why? First he says people are scared of retaliation. Second, he says when it comes to the greater black community they have a trust issue with police on things like this.

"They say the police is the same way,"said Jackson. "They don't snitch on each other, they wear a blue suit. They're a gang and they protect each other."

Buffalo Shooting Victims Memorialized At Crime Scene Vigil

Early Monday evening, citizens began gathering at the site of a shooting spree on Main Street in Buffalo which left four dead and four wounded in the wee hours of Saturday.

They were there expecting to take part in a vigil for the victims.

Family members of some of the victims also showed up.

But not long after 7pm, when they'd heard the vigil was scheduled to begin, it began to dawn on them that there was no one to lead the service.

Enter Pastor Doris Wellington.

Wellington is with the Milwaukee, Wisconsin chapter of Jesus Impact, and was traveling through Buffalo on Monday when she heard about the shootings and plans for the vigil.

She went there to pray and show support, never intending to lead the event. But when it turned out there was no one there to speak she quickly introduced herself to the families of victims who were present and offered her services.

Metro Fare Information Meetings Scheduled

BUFFALO, NY-The NFTA has scheduled six hearings over the next two weeks to help the community understand Metro's new fare structure that takes effect on September 1st.

Metro is eliminating zones and zone charges, as well as moving from 12 different passes to two-the Metro Monthly pass and the Metro Day pass.

The first hearing takes place on Tuesday, August 17th from 10 AM- 1 PM at the Old First Ward Community Center on Republic St.

The schedule for the remainder of the hearings is as follows:

-Friday, August 20th, 2-4 PM at the University Rail Station at the South Campus on Main Street in Buffalo

-Monday, August 23rd, 9-11 AM at the Metropolitan Transportation Center located at 181 Ellicott Street in Buffalo

-Monday, August 23rd, 1-3 PM at the Niagara Falls Transportation Center located at 2250 Fashion Outlets Blvd. in Niagara Falls