Saratoga Springs

Violence in and around Gaffney’s back on Saratoga Springs officials’ radar

Gaffney’s line, downtown night as crowds fill the bars on Caroline Street in late hours in Saratoga Springs on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Gaffney’s line, downtown night as crowds fill the bars on Caroline Street in late hours in Saratoga Springs on Friday, July 30, 2021.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Weekend violence is still plaguing Gaffney’s restaurant and bar – both directly and indirectly – leading to representatives of the business meeting on Monday with Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino and his deputy for what Montagnino says was a “frank discussion.”

Violence in and around the popular establishment at 16 Caroline St. hasn’t disappeared since the Daily Gazette examined the topic last month.

Three city officers were injured attempting to break up a fight outside Gaffney’s early on March 6, leading to three arrests, while two others face disorderly conduct charges. 

The evening prior, on March 5, police dealt with an arrest that indirectly involved Gaffney’s: authorities stopped a car driven by an Amsterdam man for a traffic violation at Spring and Circular street, discovering an illegal, loaded nine-millimeter firearm with an illegal clip that had 13 rounds.

According to Montagnino, the man told his girlfriend and another witness he was headed to Gaffney’s to shoot up the place and settle an earlier fight.

During the meeting, Gaffney’s co-owner Justin Manfro and a Gaffney’s representative met with Montagnino’s and Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Jason Tetu, 
“We didn’t come up with any solutions,” Montagnino said. “We came up with an agreement that we want to work together to try to make things better.”
Montagnino said the scene on Caroline Street “deserves careful attention” and “creative solutions,” but the notion of potentially closing any of the establishments “is at the very bottom of the list of things that I would consider a solution.”

He said Manfro came to the table with an intent to cooperate with whatever reasonable suggestions the city might come up with over the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Gaffney’s issued a statement Monday:

“Earlier today, we met with city officials to discuss how we can work together more cohesively to support Caroline Street. We look forward to continuing these conversations in a positive manner. Gaffney’s has always remained committed as ever to ensuring a safe environment for our patrons and artists.”

The statement took on a less combative tone than one that was issued on the heels of the altercation that left the three officers injured.

“Sadly, another PR hit job by the Saratoga Springs Police Department this afternoon,” that statement read. “The egregious and dangerous assertion that our establishment is responsible for an altercation, or altercations, on a public street is yet another concerning statement from the police department.”

Montagnino said he met last week with other bar owners, and the city anticipates meeting with others in the coming weeks.

“What we’d like to do is come up with some sort of a holistic solution that involves all the bar and restaurant owners in the Caroline Street strip,” Montagnino said.

But the commissioner noted that violence isn’t on the rise in the city. He plans to release data to that effect.

“We really have a statistically insignificant change in the number of incidents in the city,” he said. “There’s been a lot of coverage of a number of incidents, but in terms of the totals, the city is as safe as it’s been. There is no spike in the crime rate.”

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.


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