City police today defended their patrol coverage of Hamilton Hill against claims by a man who said they did not do enough to prevent his being savagely beaten by youths early Monday.
Anthony Ackerman Sr., 35, of 225 Nott Terrace, was attacked on Paige Street about 1:30 a.m. as he walked home from his job at the Rotterdam Wal-Mart. Police found him unconscious two blocks away, on Summit Avenue, but were unable to find the youths.
The beating left the lanky Ackerman with a broken nose, 16 stitches in his scalp, blood in his eyes, memory loss and ringing in his right ear.
For The Daily Gazette’s initial report on Anthony Ackerman’s reported beating and his claims that police did not do enough to prevent the attack, read Kathleen Moore’s story by clicking here.
Ackerman said he plans to sue the city for negligence, alleging police knew there was gang activity in the neighborhood. He said police responded to a 911 call in the same general area four hours before his attack from a person alleging he had been attacked by youths. Police never found the alleged victim nor any of the youths.
“It’s not the money, it’s the principle. Officers need to do their jobs, and the city needs to stop catering to the police union,” Ackerman said.
City Corporation Counsel L. John Van Norden said the city would challenge Ackerman’s claim, saying law enforcement and fire departments are shielded from liability in performing their duties.
Assistant Chief Jack Falvo said the zone was covered at the time of the assault, but the officers were handling a traffic stop at Erie Boulevard and Interstate 890.
“It is part of their zone because it overlaps,” Falvo said. “They were there on their own initiative, doing proactive policing. We encourage officers to practice proactive policing, to drive around and investigate circumstances that pique their curiosity.”
At the time Ackerman was assaulted, police had one car with two officers assigned to patrol Hamilton Hill and downtown.
“We have a minimum of two officers in one car on every shift, and we do overlap, as well,” Falvo said.
The officers can also call upon patrol cars not assigned to specific zones for help, Falvo said.
Check back with DailyGazette.com for more on this story or read Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Gazette.
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