Officer assaulted, cruiser damaged at Walden Galleria

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — To say police here have had enough of teens behaving badly is putting it lightly. April seemed to be a particularly bad month at Walden Galleria, similar to around last Christmas when more than a dozen fights broke out.

Police said it’s costing taxpayers money, and it’s putting officers’ lives at risk.

“To think about the mentality of a 14-year-old, 15-year-old who are not afraid to do this stuff. It’s a sad statement,” said Cheektowaga Assistant Chief James Speyer.
Teens — in many cases young women — are acting out again at Galleria, and much of it’s on camera.
Video obtained by News 4 from the end of last year shows one of the multiple fights that broke out at the mall. Then, on April 8, a uniformed officer responded to a fight.
Speyer said a uniformed officer was summoned to break up a fight near the food court, when the incident quickly grew out of control.

“As he was breaking them up, the people that had gathered that were with these two girls, from both sides, we can’t tell exactly who it was, but somebody attacked the officer from behind,” Speyer said. “Somebody hit him over the head with a heavy object, another one kicked him and then a third one actually bit his hand.”

The officer has memory loss and other concussion symptoms, he developed an infection in his hand from the bite, and he remains off the job.
A little more than a week later, another deplorable act caught on camera. A teen jumped on the hood of a marked cruiser, causing hundreds of dollars in damages.
“It ends up being a 14-year-old girl, who when they tried to stop her, swore at them and said you’re going to have to fight me,” Speyer said.
She was eventually caught and charged as a juvenile.
“This is not kids being kids. These are kids acting as criminals,” Speyer said. “These kids are not ringing doorbells and running away, or playing pranks on each other. There are people that are hurt as a result of their actions. There’s damage to a police car.”
Calls to mall management were not returned.
The mall uses a mixture of its own private security, as well as uniformed and plain-clothes Cheektowaga officers.
The mall enforces a parental escort policy from 4 p.m. to closing on Fridays and Saturdays, when people 17 and younger are required to be accompanied by a parent or an adult 21 or older.
Speyer said parents should take notice.
“You can’t expect to drop your child off with 100s of other children and not expect them to get in trouble,” he said. “It goes back to common sense. When you’re out in public, behave. That’s all we’re asking.”

 

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