Victim of homeless violence speaks out

Nov 2, 2015

WBFO recently reported on an alarming spike in violent attacks against Buffalo's homeless population. Now, one victim is speaking out.

Alexander Shrira was walking in downtown Buffalo last month when he was beaten and robbed of what little he had.

The victim WBFO spoke with was found battered in Fireman's Park in downtown Buffalo.
Credit Google Earth

The original police report, filed by NFTA Transit Police, said Shrira was found battered and swollen in Fireman's Park, with blood pooled on the nearby pavement where he was attacked. That report classified the offenses against Shrira as felony robberies, but a subsequent report by the Buffalo Police Department downgraded those offenses to a harassment violation and misdemeanor assault.

“I was assaulted, knocked unconscious, and my stuff was taken from me. That’s robbery, by definition,” said Shrira.

Shrira believes the offenses were downgraded because police aren't interested in investigating crimes against people like him.

“We are homeless. We are less than normal people. Homeless gets robbed and injured and knocked unconscious, have injuries, it’s not a big deal.”

Attacks against the homeless have increased nationally, too. A report by the National Coalition for the Homeless found a 23 percent increase in violence against homeless Americans compared to the previous year.

Buffalo Police did not respond to a request for comment.