Have you been following the Niagara Falls Casino Brawl-For-It-All involving New York State Senator Mark J. Grinsanti? It's a strange one, even for a New York politician.
Saturday night, Senator Grisanti of Buffalo and his wife attended a fancy black-tie gala event at a casino in Niagara Falls. The gala was a diabetes fundraiser thrown by members of the Seneca Nation, a Native American tribe that owns and operate the casino. Some time after the event, Grisanti was seated at a bar in the casino when he became aware of two Seneca Nation businessmen having an argument. There are conflicting reports of what happened next.
Initial reports said that Senator Grisanti approached the two men and tried to calm then down. The men, upon learning Grisanti's identity, then allegedly punched him in the head and ribs after berating him for not helping their people. Grisanti's wife was also assaulted after she tried to break up the fight.
This morning, however, Buffalo News reported that the Buffalo Police Department would not be pressing charges because they believe no crime was committed. Witnesses have said that Grisanti tried to intervene in an argument between two Seneca men. Additionally, another Seneca Nation businessman present tells the Buffalo News that he heard Grisanti lob a racial epithet at a black security guard while being restrained. From Buffalonews.com:
The allegation of racist remarks was made by businessman Ross L. John Sr., a former member of the Senecas' Tribal Council. John said he is certain that he heard Grisanti "at least twice" yelling a harsh racial epithet at a black security officer who had subdued him.
"I was maybe 15 feet away. I heard it," John said. "[Grisanti] yelled, 'Don't you know who the [expletive] I am, you [expletive]?"
John said he is "certain" he heard Grisanti using racial epithets and will tell police that if he becomes a witness in the case.
The video begins with Grisanti being held down on the floor by security. He then gets up and shouts at the security office, and then we see Eric White, one of the men accused of being in the brawl, appear. The camera then leaves Eric White, and moments later he is being helped off the ground as Grisanti is put into a choke hold.