The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Adam Alkhatib, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It details the harassment he and his family have been subjected to (including theft of their rightful property) by members of the Niagara Falls Police Department over the past two years.
Much of this harassment, including several arrests and felony charges, has been directed at his older brother Joe and began shortly after their father died from cancer. Alkhatib states that the ongoing and severe harassment against his family has not only deprived them of their rights, but also placed them in a very difficult situation financially.
Make sure you check the information provided below for the number of the Niagara Falls Police Dept. complaint line, as well as the link to the Facebook page for the official City of Niagara Falls (NY) tourism information. Let both of them know what you think of the behaviour of the police officers representing them.
In addition, the Niagara County Health Department was involved in initiating the original investigation that led to this harassment. Don’t forget to let them know your opinion of their role in this, as well.
Date of Incident(s): Various and ongoing incidents between August, 2014 and April, 2016
Department Involved: Niagara Falls (NY) Police Department
Officers Involved: Detective Conte/Dennis Virtuoso
Department Phone Number: (716) 286-4547
Department Complaint Line: (716) 286-4711
Niagara Falls (NY) Police Narcotics Task Force Google+ Profile: Write a Review Online
City of Niagara Falls Facebook Page: Niagara Falls Tourism Info
Niagara County (NY) Department of Health: Contact Us
Niagara County (NY) Health Department Facebook Page: Niagara County Department of Health
My brother has been a model citizen his entire life, he took control and managed the businesses when our father was diagnosed with cancer that spread throughout his entire body. My brother became guardian to me and my siblings, he took care of us our entire lives, never leaving our side once. He has been a great role model, and parent alike.
He has faced so much already, from battling with our other siblings and father’s ex wives over the estate, and the future of the properties/businesses, countless years wasted away in court over material possessions that he was entrusted to. He has given more than any other person in our family. He has been the glue keeping everything together.
In July or August 2014, the Niagara Falls Health Department came down to our business with the entire Narcotics Detective Squad. The police didn’t have a warrant they were simply there to “protect the health department workers”. The reason the health department came down to inspect every single room at our small family motel, was because of a completely fabricated YouTube video, with pictures and scary music that was showing deplorable living conditions obviously obtained from the dark internet.
The images were searched using a reverse image search engine, showing the exact location where the pictures were derived from. All of them were from completely different countries, not even close to where we are located or even on the same side of the world. They launched an investigation due to the YouTube video and they then tried to condemn rooms for the most simple of problems (missing smoke detector batteries, missing outlet covers, even because there were bees near the roof). They gave a total over 100 violations and condemned a few rooms, and they wanted $50,000 in fines for the violations.
The narcotics detectives made every tenant leave their room, and searched the rooms combing over everything they owned looking for illegal and illicit items/drugs. The police had found “a needle and a bb gun” and used that as the main point of the news articles that were published (obviously planted due to the rooms being unoccupied and nobody was allowed in once they were in the room). They had literally blasted us in the news and on the local TV news stations. All of our regular customers disappeared and we dropped down 90% of all our sales/income.
They forced us to take in low income families, mostly sent from government agencies and social services, for at risk people. They gave us no choice but to accept money wherever it came from, then they ridiculed us for the type of people that we had living there. They killed off all of our clientele and gave us a bad rap with all of the locals.
The next thing that happened was the worst, one of the tenants living at the motel was a drug user and was going around robbing and stealing, always making his way back to the motel where he lived. The police came one morning banging on my door, they were banging on the office door, and then they were banging on the sliding glass door behind the house and office, in an enclosed area.
The tenant had placed stolen ladders behind the fence to hide them from view and the police came and seized the ladders they wanted (without a warrant) and left. A few days later they came back with a search warrant. My brother was out driving somewhere when I called him and advised him of what was happening. He had to pull over in a parking lot to call his lawyer.
The police then found him and had stopped him in his vehicle, arrested him, impounded his truck, and brought him back to the motel, where they took his keys and opened the doors. They took every piece of equipment that they deemed worth money, cherry-picking through all of our tools and equipment. On the warrant they showed me, there were four things: ladders, Ryobi tools, paint sprayers, and construction wood or materials. My brother had to drive down to the police station weeks later just to retain a copy of the warrant and they had changed a few items on the warrant versus the one that they showed me the day of the raid. (They refused to give me a copy and only showed it to me briefly, then promptly took it away.)
The police literally took everything we had, from our snow blower that we bought at home depot, a parking lot blower, a jack hammer, ladders, and every expensive electric tool/equipment we had. They took the best tools and equipment and left half of all the tools and equipment that we had. (They took what they wanted and only left what didn’t have much value). My brother has had multiple businesses and has more than a few properties, as well as a second house. He was planning on selling or renting out the empty buildings/properties that he had and so he consolidated everything to the motel especially after he got hurt and disabled.
The motel is where we do the most work; it requires constant and 24/7 attention. There is always some type of work needing to be done, improvements needing to be made. We do all of the work ourselves when we can. It’s what we have done for decades to lessen the cost of expenses in order to survive. It was the best option at hand for a small family business. We had backhoes, heavy equipment, everything needed to do major work.
I have lived at the house/motel nearly my entire life. Every single time work needed to be done whether it was hired out or with just some workers we had hired, I was always, always, always put alongside the workers so that I could do one thing…learn. He always made me help out so that I could learn the task at hand. I have done everything at that motel….roofing, siding, drywall, painting, plumbing, drain tile work, digging, HVAC, carpeting, sealing the driveway with tar, as well as the black top. I have done everything imaginable, and have learned so much. I was actually the go-to kid when something needed to be fixed or done. I was there in the trenches along with everyone else working hard, simply to be able to do the work for myself and for the motel once I’m older. This was the same way my brother learned from our father himself.
The worst part is that not one thing the police took from us was ever reported stolen. Instead, they coerced people into making statements claiming ownership. They even approached the owner of ABC Rental, where we had purchased a jack hammer (over 10+ years ago), and a Little Wonder parking lot blower that we’ve also had for 10+ years and which we bought from him at two different locations).
They got the owner to claim that they never sold us the equipment and can “prove” it went missing from their inventory. (We have our own proof that I won’t disclose here, but it shows that they are cooking the books if they really have “records” of something that was never in their inventory.) How does a rental company, which is in the business of renting/selling used equipment, not make a police report when a customer takes off with the equipment that they’re making a living off of? A company that rents stuff out like that, has all the information on who is renting the items as well as credit cards on file, and they sure as hell wouldn’t let someone get away with any equipment. There should be a paper trail, of police reports, even a paper trail with their insurance company as anyone missing big ticket items would have to have made a claim to get reimbursed.
However, that’s not the case and none of that ever happened. They magically let it disappear from their inventory without notifying police or making a report. The guy who owns the company has a shady, shady log of complaints lodged against him and his stores. His credibility is shoddy and with a single search of the Better Business Bureau or a simple Google Search, will show all the other complaints that never even made it that far.
The owner is trying to get free equipment that he already sold, as well as making friends/favors with the police. The computer system of theirs has been “updated recently” and all of the records of purchases under the business name are gone. They have no record of our purchases (how likely). The value of the 15+ year old jackhammer is well under $1000, as well as the parking lot blower that is old and used. Yet my brother was charged with two felonies (items in excess of $1000), when in reality you can purchase a brand new jackhammer or parking lot blower for less than that. We have a big tar tank/trailer that we use every year for sealing the driveway as we have done for the past 10+ years, we never had to hire out someone to seal our driveways at the four different properties.
The police have been targeting my family and specifically my brother Joe, who has done nothing wrong. My uncle Tom keeps cars that he is trying to sell or just cars he isn’t using at the motel. They sit there until my uncle needs to do something with them. Someone took off the plates from one of his cars and switched them with my brother Joe’s plates on his daily vehicle that he drives all the time. The police pulled him over and arrested him for having stolen plates, (the car is registered and insured in his name, he never had a reason to use bad plates) and they gave him a slew of tickets and driving infractions while they were at it. The entire situation smells like sabotage.
The police have since then arrested my brother several other times, including recently (in April, 2016) for obstruction of a government official. We have a tenant that is being evicted for non-payment of rent. (The process was started before any of the recent water problems.) That tenant was purposely running the hot and cold water constantly to run up our water/heat bills. He told police that he had a toilet leak, which was causing the excess use. Toilets do not run on hot water, yet the police forced us to turn the water back on. In fact, the tenant did not have anything wrong with the toilet and even refused to let us do repairs because none had to be made since the toilet had no actual leak. The smart meter showed that there was a leak and even how many feet away it was detected, leading right to the pipes going into his room.
The police entered the closed motel office (lights off and everything) and proceeded to enter the house area, where the door to the meter was locked, and they yelled at my brother to turn the water on. (He had a friend over and was busy.) They also wanted to follow him off camera and down into the basement dwelling where the pipes are. My brother refused to let the officer follow him down there where he wasn’t being protected by the cameras we have on the property. He simply closed the basement door behind him and the officer then went in the basement and arrested him for obstruction. Then after the water was turned on they still wrote him a violation for the water being off.
A leak constitutes as an emergency, so there is no way that is legal. The leak itself is reason enough to turn the water off. They wouldn’t arrest the tenant for theft of services. They wouldn’t arrest the tenant when we had him on camera stealing a flat screen TV from another room and even had him on camera selling it to a drug dealer. The police said that all reports have to be made online and did nothing after viewing the camera footage. They are purposely leaving us in the dark and using their color of uniform to deprive us of our natural given rights and yet they deny us any help. Whenever we call, it takes over an hour for them to even show up.
The police have been sullying our name and manipulating news articles to be one sided against us. They have a problem with our last name because it is Palestinian. (They just call it/us ARAB.) My brother has been in the same place for over 40 years and he is Polish, Jewish, and Palestinian, he is probably on of the longest/oldest running motel owners in Niagara Falls, and they want us out really badly. They are trying everything in their power to gang up against my brother and family.
They are the worst, most corrupt officers in the entire nation, only in Niagara Falls can stuff like this happen, and only the Niagara Falls Police can get away with such heinous acts. They deprive us of our civil rights and then don’t even help when we call the police for something. They are unjust and their tactics are highly illegal. Nothing they do is by the book and all over the internet are horrible complaints lodged against the Niagara Falls NY Police Department.
– Adam Alkhatib