City Grill Investigation Focusing on Off-Duty Police Officer

August 27, 2010 Updated Aug 27, 2010 at 6:48 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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August 27, 2010 Updated Aug 27, 2010 at 6:48 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- An off-duty Buffalo Police officer was providing security at City Grill the night eight people were shot, police sources and restaurant officials told Eyewitness News.

The owner of City Grill said off-duty police were being utilized all summer for weekly hip-hop events at the restaurant.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda would not confirm if one of his officers was working at City Grill in the early morning hours of August 14.

"We've heard the same allegations you have," Derenda said.

"We'll take necessary action, appropriate action if we find that to be true," he added.

Officers must have the department's permission before pursuing outside or part-time work.

However, law enforcement officers are barred from working at or owning establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol under the state's Alcohol Beverage Control Law, said William Crowley, spokesman for the New York State Liquor Authority.

"It prohibits law enforcement officers from having a direct or indirect interest in a licensed premises," Crowley said.

Several well-known liquor-serving establishments currently employ off-duty law enforcement personnel and may not know they are violating the law.

In Buffalo's Entertainment District, the not-for-profit organization that represents neighborhood businesses hires off-duty police officers as security on the weekend's, which is perfectly legal, said Crowley.

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