Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski has reached out to David Zanghi and his sister and advocate, Mary Ellen Wilber, in an attempt to get them in touch with emergency relief agencies after Zanghi’s life was disrupted earlier in the week.
Jankowski said today that he has met with Zanghi and talked on the phone to Wilber, and pledged the City’s support in finding the assistance Zanghi needs as a result of the 20-hour standoff at his Liberty Street residence on Monday and Tuesday.
“I’ve spoken to the City (management) and to Mr. Zanghi and they definitely want to put him in touch with agencies that can provide assistance,” Jankowski said. “It’s the same as with a major fire … we need to provide that connection.”
On Thursday, Zanghi informed The Batavian that his downstairs apartment at 209 Liberty St. and his personal belongings were extensively damaged from tear gas canisters fired by police. Subsequently, he has been displaced from his apartment and currently is staying with a relative.
A dialysis patient, Zanghi also said his medications were compromised during the ordeal, which saw Daniel Wolfe hold police at bay throughout the night as he barricaded himself inside his upstairs apartment with a pellet (BB) gun and a sword.
The situation ended around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when Wolfe surrendered to City Police.
Jankowski noted that Zanghi is “obviously in poor health and needs some help.”
“Let’s help him get the help he needs and help Mary Ellen navigate the system,” he said. “She is coming into town this weekend and we’ve set up an appointment for her to meet with the City Manager (Martin Moore) and Assistant City Manager (Rachael Tabelski)."
Jankowski said that Wilber was “very receptive” to his call.
“She is a longtime civil servant and is acquainted with the system,” he said. “We will give her all the help we can as we would do anybody else in this situation.”
The council president said that agencies such as Genesee Justice, Veterans Services and Social Services are out there to assist victims of incidents such as this, and noted that law enforcement could provide the names of other organizations that could help out.
He also said that City Police did provide Zanghi with some phone numbers of agencies that could provide assistance, but said communication broke down after that.
“It was confusing to us since he never contacted us directly,” he said. “We were taken back a bit by the published report (in The Batavian).
Earlier today, Council Member Rose Mary Christian, who represents the Sixth Ward (which includes Liberty Street), weighed in on the matter – saying that she sympathized with Zanghi’s plight while also opining that contemporary society has made it difficult for the police.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened to him – he is a good person for that area -- but it could happen to anybody,” she said. “Any place, any time. That’s why it’s extremely important to have renter’s insurance.”
Christian went on to say that today’s “politically correct” climate has tied law enforcement’s hands.
“Our society has done this. In years past, maybe even 10 years ago, if there was a problem like that, (police) would knock down that door, grab him and have him arrested,” she said. “Today, the liberals would just question what happened here and (say), ‘Oh, the poor guy.’ ”
“That’s nonsense. The legal system doesn’t have a shot in hell.”
As far as 45-year-old Wolfe is concerned, he currently is in Genesee County Jail without bail, facing five charges, including three felonies. His case has been adjourned until Dec. 12.