BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — One day after an aide to State Sen. Robert G. Ortt resigned following allegations of racial slurs caught on camera in North Tonawanda, the controversy took a new turn.
The mother of the teens who say they were harassed by the senate aide while walking to 7-Eleven is pointing her finger at North Tonawanda police, saying a detective told her to remove the video from social media.
“First thing he basically said was, we need to get this off of social media...You’re starting a race war,” Carla Morano said of a police detective.
In the video, former senate aide Robert W. Welch appeared to be screaming at a group of mixed-race teenagers, including Morano’s 13-year-old daughter, over a dispute about damage to a lawn sign.
Multiple members of the I-Team listened to the video, and twice heard what sounded like a racial slur derogatory toward hispanics.
But in a news release, North Tonawanda police said dash-cam footage from Welch's car showed he said “b----” and not a racial slur. Police also say there was “no physical contact by any of the parties,” something Morano disputes.
Click here to read the news release from North Tonawanda police.
Morano said, “Everybody heard the N-Word, the S-Word, the C-word, and degrading these children in their face, grabbed [my daughter] by her shirt saying, ‘Come on, I’m taking you to your mother, show me where you live.’”
Welch also stated that he knows police officers in North Tonawanda.
Morano said police offered to help her make a citizen arrest Tuesday morning and charge both the man and woman heard in the video with harassment, but she declined to sign the papers. She said she felt pressured after police told her she did not need to show the papers to a lawyer.
“I’m not just signing a paper for harassment,” Morano said. “It goes beyond this. I’m not covering this up.”
Welch could not be reached for comment, and Ortt’s office declined to provide his contact information for a response to the allegations.