September 21, 2010

Ithaca Police Department Offers Cash for Leads on Police House Arson

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The Ithaca Police Department and the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association announced Tuesday a $10,000 cash reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons committing or conspiring to commit the arson fire at the residence of Ithaca Police Sergeant Bryan Bangs on July 10, 2010.”

The announcement is a considerable move in the attempts to find the perpetrators of the July 10 arson. The New York State Police concluded that the fire was a murder attempt; Bangs was the only person present in the house at the time of the immolation.

Exacerbating the issue is the fact that the arson took place shortly after Bangs was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the controversial fatal shooting of Ithaca resident and drug suspect Shawn Greenwood, 29, in February. Bangs, along with several other officers, approached Greenwood outside of Pete’s Wine & Liquor in downtown Ithaca, where the suspect tried to avoid arrest by driving onto a curb and hitting a police officer. Bangs responded by shooting at Greenwood, a decision he later justified as “self-defense.”

On July 14, the Ithaca Common Council passed a resolution condemning the arson in a special meeting, showing their unanimous support for Bangs. Additionally, the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association union declared the arson as “cowardly and barbaric,” and further defended Bangs’ actions.

Following the shooting, there was considerable community backlash, expressed in an open forum on March 9. Many Ithacans brought up alleged issues of racial profiling and abuses by the IPD, alleging that the tension between Greenwood and Bangs went back years before the shooting. Other locals noted discrepancies in the case for the “necessity” of Bangs’ actions, arguing that he could have shot out Greenwood’s tires.

Any persons with information about the arson should call IPD (607) 347-4440.

Original Author: Brendan Doyle