The Buffalo Police Department has fired one of its own after an arrest this morning by federal law enforcement officials.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul said former police officer Jorge Melendez, 41, is charged with running a drug manufacturing business out of two warehouses in South Buffalo. Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI arrested Melendez at Police Headquarters.
An Erie County Court jury has found Dr. James Corasanti not guilty on all of the major charges against him in the death of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.
Jurors returned to the courtroom just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to issue their verdict.
The jury acquitted the 56-year-old Corasanti on second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, resulting death, and tampering with physical evidence.
The defense rested its case late Tuesday in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst.
Closing arguments are slated for next Tuesday, May 29. A standard defense motion to dismiss the case was denied by Judge Sheila DiTullio.
In testimony Tuesday, an accident reconstruction consultant testified Corasanti wasn't driving as fast as police estimated the night he struck and killed Alexandria Rice, and that Rice was half-way out of the bike lane at the time.
The trial of Dr. James Corasanti enters its 16th day in Erie County Court today.
Corasanti finished testifying early Monday afternoon and then the jury heard a defense witness pick apart the results of Corasanti's blood test.
For Corasanti's second day on the stand, Alexandria Rice's father sat in his usual front row seat in the gallery wearing a neon green shirt that appeared close in color to the top Rice had on the night she was struck and killed by Corasanti's vehicle.
A defense request to dismiss all charges against Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst was denied Thursday. Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio denied the request by defense attorney Joel Daniels, who was seeking to have all five charges against the Amherst doctor dropped.
The prosecution rested its case late Thursday morning after calling its 37th witness to the stand. Corasanti is accused in the fatal hit-and-run of Alexandria Rice last July while she was riding on her longboard on Heim Road.
It is day ten of the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti. The Amherst doctor is accused in the fatal July 8 hit and run of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.
An Amherst Police officer testified Friday about collecting evidence at Corasanti's home. Detective Peter Crofut said one of the first things that was visible on the vehicle was a "palm print" on the hood of the car.
Cell phone company records indicate Dr. James Corasanti sent and received nearly 80 text messages the day Alexandria Rice was killed. But by the time investigators seized Corasanti's phone, most of them were gone.
Amherst Police Technical Services Officer Thomas Barillari testified legal procedures kept investigators from seizing Corasanti's phone until August 1, nearly three weeks after Rice was struck and killed along Heim Road.
A former Common Council member who is also employed as a Buffalo Police officer is facing federal charges for allegedly abusing sick leave at his job.
Police say Robert Quintana, 50, was arrested this morning and charged with mail fraud and healthcare fraud. Quintana has been listed as 'injured on duty' since 2005 and has been receiving full pay and benefits. He had told the Police Department he had severe back injuries from a fall on duty.
The medical examiner who conducted an autopsy on Alexandria Rice was among those called to the stand today in the continuing manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti in Erie County Court.
The first witness called on Day 6 of the trial was Amherst Police Detective John Trabert. He testified about arranging what investigators call a "controlled pick-up" of the garbage that Corasanti's placed at the curb in front of their house the week after Rice was struck and killed while skateboarding on Heim Road.
Dr. James Corasanti's vehicular manslaughter trial resumed for its fifth day Thursday afternoon in Erie County Court with the Prosecution calling registered nurse Hope Dalrymple.
Dalrymple is the RN at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital who carried out the court-ordered DWI blood test on Dr. Corasanti five hours after the car he was driving struck and killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice as she was skateboarding on Heim Road the night of July 8, 2011.
Some local children will be taking part in a new initiative designed to promote healthy living.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation has awarded a grant to the Independent Health Foundation to bring the national "Soccer For Success" program to ten Buffalo Public elementary schools.
The youth development program uses soccer as a tool to combat childhood obesity. Independent Health President and CEO Dr. Michael Cropp said the epidemic of obesity and diabetes is driving the crisis in healthcare today.
Ghoulish-looking protestors staged a 'die-in' this morning in downtown Buffalo as part of May Day/International Worker's Day demonstrations across the country.
Die-ins, where participant simulate being dead, became a popular form of protest against the Iraq war. The silent protest with American flags and anti-war signs took place outside the Lafayette Square military recruiter station.
Testimony resumed today in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti, who is accused of fatally striking teenager Alexandria Rice last July and then leaving the scene of the accident.
This morning, residents along Heim Road in Amherst where the collision occurred described hearing an unusual noise. One called it a "loud thump" and the other said it was a "horrific" noise and a "jarring sound," unnatural for the quiet neighborhood. She said it's not unusual for bicyclists and skateboarders to use the bike lane on Heim.
The NFTA's long-vacant property on Buffalo's waterfront should be made into a family play space, according to the group Citizens for a 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor. The group also wants the new park to be dedicated to Fredrick Law Olmsted, the man who designed much of the city green space.
Former Erie County Legislator Joan Bozer says it's an opportunity to carry out Olmsted's plan for a waterfront park, which had to be moved inland in what became South Park. Bozer points out the Greenway Plan and other waterfront proposals call for extending the "Olmsted legacy."
It's been 150 years since the founding of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and to mark the occasion the public has been invited to help create a special anniversary work for the Gallery's collection.
In all, 150 Western New Yorkers were selected during yesterday's drawing in the Gallery.
"We think it will leave a great legacy and continue the great tradition at the Albright-Knox that we are supportive of new art, supportive of engaging artists in our community and building our collection," said Louis Grachos, Albright-Knox Director.
The New York State Board of Regents today followed a recommendation to close Pinnacle Charter School in June at the end of the current school year.
The Education Department recommended the school closing because of persistent sub-par scores on state tests. There is no appeal process, although school officials were meeting with legal counsel Tuesday about a possible lawsuit to block the closing.
Parents, teachers, and students have been rallying in recent days to keep the school open.
Leaders and staff of Roswell Park Cancer Institute celebrated the opening of the hospital's new state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit this morning.
The $4 million project involved relocating the ICU to the 8th floor and installing additional windows so each room is filled with natural light. The 8,000 square foot unit is 40-percent larger than the old one.
Roswell Park's Chief Nursing Officer Maureen Kelly says it makes a nice environment for patients, their families and staff.
Local members of the state delegation are trying to build support for legislation aimed at cracking down on repeat child abusers.
Senator Timothy Kennedy and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak are sponsoring Jay J's Law, named for Jay J. Bolvin who suffered nearly a dozen broken bones at the hands of his father, Jeremy Bolvin, before he was two months of age.
Jay J's guardian Kevin Retzer says the abuse caused permanent brain damage and Jay J still does not talk like a normal two-year-old.
Several local sites designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright can now be seen on one day-long tour.
The Darwin Martin House, Graycliff Estate, the Blue Sky Mausoleum and the Fontana Boat House are among the stops on the All Wright All Day tour announced today by Martin House Restoration Corporation Executive Director Mary Roberts.
"This will be one of the most fun-filled architectural educational tours that you can take," Roberts said.
More than 50 billboards are up across Erie County encouraging people to join their local volunteer fire department. It's part of a statewide recruitment drive in conjunction with "National Volunteer Week," which includes an open house at many departments this weekend.