Monday, March 27, 2023

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: Three Stabbings, One Shooting Covered Up by City of Newburgh Government

The City of Newburgh government covered up three stabbings and one shooting that occurred within the last three months, an investigative report by The Newburgh News, LLC has determined (See the crime details below).

The investigative report was the result of an uproar in the community accusing the city government of covering up crime. During several public meetings, City Council members vehemently denied that any crime was being hidden from the public. The investigative report found this was untrue.

From January 1, 2022 through October 28, 2022, a total of 34 press releases were posted to the City of Newburgh Police Department’s social media pages regarding violent crimes including murders, shootings, stabbings, and gun busts. The City Council then announced they would begin to “control the narrative” of what the public is allowed to know (story here). After this, the press releases abruptly stopped being issued.

The Newburgh News then launched its own investigation.

Initially, the City Clerk’s Office denied the release of publicly accessible records that The Newburgh News requested under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). After The Newburgh News published two articles exposing ongoing censorship by city officials, other media outlets joined in and reported their own battles due to the city’s censorship. City officials finally complied and released the public records to The Newburgh News.

On February 5, 2023, The Newburgh News submitted the FOIL request to the City Clerk’s Office. On February 10, 2023, the City Clerk’s Office sent an acknowledgement letter to The Newburgh News.

At close of business on Monday, the legally mandated 20 business day deadline to respond elapsed, which legally constituted a denial.

After the denial, The Newburgh News first broke a story on Monday evening (story here) exposing the City of Newburgh for crime cover-ups and refusing to release public records as required by law. Two days later, on Wednesday, other media outlets picked up on the news and also exposed the city government. Also on Wednesday, The Newburgh News broke another article exposing the City of Newburgh government for their newest censorship attempts that were riddled with threats (story here) .

The very next day, despite the records having previously been denied, the City of Newburgh suddenly provided the information to The Newburgh News – a whopping 39 days after the FOIL request was mailed to the City Clerk’s Office.

The open records request included police incident reports for all shootings and/or stabbings from November 1, 2022, through February 5, 2023. An additional request was made for all press releases issued during that time frame.

The investigation revealed one shooting and three stabbings that the City of Newburgh withheld from the public. No press releases were issued, even though they had been traditionally released for nearly all shootings and stabbings prior to the “control the narrative” meeting.

Before the police reports were obtained by The Newburgh News, the City Council repeatedly denied they were withholding any crime information from the public.

Last year, City Manager Todd Venning implemented a gag order on all city agencies and required that he personally approve all press releases before being issued. No press releases were issued about any of these shootings or stabbings. Venning is appointed by the City Council.

The following is a timeline of all the shootings and stabbings that were hidden from the public from November 1, 2022 through February 5, 2023:

  • SHOOTING & CUTTING: December 10, 2023: Police responded to a ShotSpotter activation reporting gunshots fired at the Kenny Apartments on Walsh Road at 11:25pm.

Police arrived and found two individuals stumble out of an apartment. One victim reported he was shot and police rushed him to St. Luke’s Hospital in a police car. Another victim sustained a laceration on her wrist from a knife that struck her during a physical altercation. Police recovered a .22 caliber shell casing.

No arrests were made, according to the police reports.

  • STABBING: December 30, 2022: Police responded to a report of a stabbing in the area of 285 Liberty Street at 11:47pm.

Police arrived and found a male laying face down on a sidewalk. Officers cut open the victim’s shirt and found two lacerations on his back. Police controlled the bleeding and the victim was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s Hospital.

The victim was a passenger in his own vehicle when his girlfriend, who was driving, parked on South Street and engaged in a physical altercation with several unknown women and a man. When the victim exited the vehicle, he was punched in the face and stabbed by an unknown assailant. The victim ran from South Street to Liberty Street seeking help before he collapsed on the sidewalk.

No arrests were made, according to the police reports.

  • STABBING: January 9, 2023: Police responded to a report of a stabbing at 68 Carson Avenue at 12:12am.

Police arrived and located a man who had a stab wound to his upper back. He was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s Hospital.

The victim stated he was walking near William and Renwick Streets when he was approached by an unknown woman who began following him on South Lander Street. The woman then approached him near the intersection of Carson Avenue and stabbed him one time in the back with a knife.

Police recovered a knife in the rear of a residence on Carson Avenue. Police reviewed video footage and believed to know who the suspect was.

No arrests were made, according to the police reports.

  • STABBING: January 19, 2023: Police responded to a report of a stabbing at Varick Homes at 8:20pm.

A man and a woman were in the woman’s apartment with two children present. When an apparent argument ensued, the man began walking downstairs to leave the residence. As he opened the door to leave, he felt something strike his back. As he walked down the street, he realized a knife was protruding from his back. He stopped at a neighbor’s residence for help and the knife fell out.

The kitchen knife used to stab him was recovered.

No arrests were made, according to the police reports.

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