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Former Cattaraugus County man sentenced after pleading guilty to hate crime for threatening protesters with knife


Thu, Jan 11th 2024 08:15 pm

Submitted by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced 51-year-old Michael J. Cremen of Mountain Home, Arkansas, formerly of Franklinville, New York, was sentenced this morning before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to one year in jail. His sentence has already been served due his time in pretrial custody. After his court appearance this morning, Cremen was taken to the Erie County Holding Center where he will be processed and released later today.

On Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the defendant used racial slurs while threatening protesters with a knife during a demonstration on Hertel Avenue near Parkside Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The defendant pushed one protester during the incident.

The defendant, who was released on his own recognizance in the hate crime-related case, repeatedly failed to appear in court. A bench warrant was issued after the defendant knowingly failed to appear for a court proceeding in February 2022 and failed to appear for the rescheduled court appearance in March 2022.

In December 2022, the defendant was taken into custody in Arkansas by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding bench warrant and an indictment warrant for bail jumping. Cremen was extradited back to Western New York by the U.S. Marshals Service to face prosecution. He was held without bail.

On Nov. 2, 2023, Cremen pleaded guilty one count of menacing in the second degree as a hate crime and one count of bail jumping in the second degree (class “E” felonies). The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest charges in full satisfaction of both indictments against him. As part of the plea, Justice Boller agreed to sentence the defendant to one year in jail. Cremen was released from pretrial custody on the day of the plea.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for its work in the investigation. Flynn also acknowledges the numerous law enforcement agencies, including Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service, for their efforts to locate the defendant.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Justin T. Wallens of the felony trials bureau.

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