BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Republicans in Erie County are now calling on County Executive Mark Poloncarz to resign. This comes after Poloncarz was named in a police report describing him as the aggressor in an alleged domestic incident.
Republicans in Erie County are immediately turning this alleged incident involving the county executive into a campaign issue. Jeremy Zellner, the chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee says Republicans are politicizing this issue.
Republican candidate for Erie County Executive Chrissy Casilio and members of the Erie County Legislature’s Republican Caucus are calling on Poloncarz to resign.
“These are serious allegations and I’m calling for an immediate investigation by an independent prosecutor outside of Erie County,” Casilio said. “There is a pattern of unhinged and unacceptable behavior by Mark Poloncarz. He needs to do the right thing: Live up to his own standard and step down.”
Poloncarz was named in a Buffalo Police Department report related to an alleged domestic incident involving his ex-girlfriend Saturday night. Poloncarz’s ex-girlfriend told officers he became “irate” over her looking at text messages on his phone and grabbed her, restraining her body against a window. The report says she ran outside and Poloncarz followed and grabbed her again — it then says she screamed for help and Poloncarz then left her home.
Republican Legislator Chris Greene, who serves the Erie County Legislature’s sixth district, added to the calls for Poloncarz’s resignation.
“The allegations are that he manhandled her. These are not the actions that are becoming of a county executive, much less candidate. I’m calling on Mark Poloncarz to resign as the county executive,” Greene said. “Mark Poloncarz has demonstrated a very disturbing pattern of aggression towards anybody who disagrees with him in politics.”
In an interview Thursday, Poloncarz described the matter as a bad breakup and said that nothing got physical.
“This past Saturday, I got into a disagreement with a woman that I was seeing over some text messages she found on my phone that led to a long discussion and a bad breakup,” Poloncarz said. “It was a bad breakup and really nothing more.”
Zellner calls the situation unfortunate and says Republicans are politicizing the situation.
“The Republicans are doing everything they can to dump gasoline on the fire and try to make this something,” Zellner said.
Zellner says Poloncarz remains their endorsed candidate for county executive in November.
“There’s no question, there’s no way for Mark to get off the ballot even if there was an issue here and again, I think this story is over I think those who want to keep it going for their own political benefit are doing so,” Zellner said.
While a police report was been filed, no charges have been filed that’s because according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, the accuser doesn’t want to press charges and the alleged incident didn’t rise to a level of a felony for prosecutors to file a case on their own. News 4 has attempted to contact the accuser, but we have not heard back.
In response to the calls for Poloncarz to resign, a spokesperson for the county executive says: “What took place was a personal matter and will not distract Mark from continuing to grow Erie County’s economy, cut property taxes even further, and ensure vital services are there for our residents. Mark is focused on delivering for the people in Erie County.”
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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.