Felony charge looms in slapping of disabled man

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)- Niagara Falls Police say they are close to making an arrest in the taunting of a disabled man.

It was recorded on someone’s cell phone and circulated on Facebook late last week. Niagara Falls Police believe it happened outside of the Tops Market on Portage Road in Niagara Falls.

In the video, you see a man in a winter hat slapping the face of a man who police know as Billy. They say Billy is mentally and physically disabled and keeps to himself. He is often seen walking in the area of Portage Road

Police say they have received more than a hundred calls from citizens with tips in this case. “That’s the silver lining to this grotesque incident.” said Niagara Falls Police Chief of Detectives Kelly Rizzo. He says police have identified two of the three suspects they were looking for and after consulting with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, they plan to put the case before a grand jury in the hopes of getting a felony indictment against the man who police say they have identified in the video. Chief Rizzo encourages the man and the two others who were with him to turn themselves in. “Turning themselves in is the only way to mitigate what they have already done.” said Rizzo.

“No one should ever be treated like that.” said Roxanne Albond-Buchner, who works with the developmentally disabled at Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara. “We were very sad to see that any human would treat another human, regardless of disability or ability in such a manner. Our individuals with intellectual and other disabilities are part of our society and they have an expectation that should be able to live, work and play in society. They’re out neighbors, they’re our co workers.”

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