A Franklinville man charged with displaying a knife and uttering racial slurs during a Buffalo Black Lives Matter protest this summer is free, pending his next scheduled court date. Erie County's District Attorney, meanwhile, hints that court date may not happen due to anticipated actions before then.
Michael Cremen appeared in Buffalo City Court Friday morning for a "willful failure to appear" hearing, stemming from two missed court dates in October. He was taken into custody outside his home earlier this week and arraigned virtually on menacing, harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon charges. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. Cremen later posted bail and was freed.
Police say he's the man captured in a photograph displaying a knife during a confrontation outside a bar on Hertel Avenue in late August, as Black Lives Matter protesters marched along the street. He's also accused of uttering racial epithets during that encounter.
Cremen's attorney attempted unsuccessfully Friday morning to have hate charges thrown out. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn was asked about that a short while later.
"We have video camera evidence that the whole world has seen, with him brandishing a knife and using the N-word directed at individuals," he said. "That's pretty cut and dry. They can make all the motions they want."
Neither Cremen nor his attorney, Dan Tarantino, commented upon leaving the courtroom. His next scheduled appearance is a felony hearing set for January 13, 2021.
Flynn suggests that date may never happen.
"I can assure you that a felony hearing is never going to happen with Buffalo City Court. This case will go with the grand jury," he said. "And then after that, they can make all the motions they want."