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City councilman calls for Strike Force discussion after shootings

Following the recent spike in gun violence across the city of Buffalo, one council member is calling for fellow city leaders to revisit a controversial idea: the possible return of Buffalo PD's Strike Force.

BUFFALO, NY - University District Council Member Rasheed Wyatt isn't just a city leader when it comes to the recent string of gun violence in Buffalo.

On May 10, he said goodbye to his cousin's son, Chaz Anthony Mario Carter. On June 30, he said goodbye to his longtime friend, Geneva Smith.

Both were killed.

"People are getting away with murder, and they continue to do it," said an impassioned Wyatt on Saturday afternoon. "We have to do something. We just can't continue to talk and march, we have to do something real."

Sometimes, Wyatt admitted, the answers seem to be impossible to find; he remembers listening to Mayor Byron Brown, pleading the day before, for more community interaction in solving Buffalo's recent string of violent shootings.

Wyatt has also become a big supporter of Buffalo MVP, and continues to push for more cameras being installed and used in solving crimes.

But there's one controversial idea he has which has drawn it's fair share of criticism this year.

"We had a Strike Force in place, and now that strike force is no longer," Wyatt said. "With this spike, was that the right decision? I'm concerned that we may have put lives on the line."

The controversial Buffalo Police Strike Force was disbanded in March, after criticism arose over what some people called "heavy-handed tactics."

For the full story by our partners with Investigative Post, you can visit here.

And as for Wyatt, it's been nearly half a year since the Strike Force was dissolved. He said understands there was a disparity in the number of police pulling over African American males, but hindsight has given him a different perspective.

He thinks it's time to revisit the idea.

"People are going to respond: this is unfair, this is profiling, this is maybe prejudiced. What do you have to say to people who respond like that?" 2 On Your Side's Joshua Robinson asked Wyatt.

"Let me say this very clearly," Wyatt replied, "I don't care what people think. Because these are people who are dying. I was at these two funerals. I've been to a number of funerals where families are crying. Innocent people are dying. Whose going to criticize that we need to have more patrols in areas where there is a spike in violence? If they do, shame on them."

2 On Your Side is still waiting on responses to Wyatt's plea from Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo and Mayor Byron Brown's office. In the meantime, city spokesman Mike DeGeorge tells 2 On Your Side, "Councilman Wyatt is expressing what many people in the community are saying, especially in those neighborhoods affected by gun violence."

Mayor Brown visited the neighborhood along Butler Avenue Saturday, after Thursday afternoon's shooting, and posted the following on his Facebook:

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