Whether residents were for or against Delaware Grocery sharing responsibility for curbing the violence surrounding the store, they agreed there is a problem in that area.
They voiced concerns at Monday night’s Albany Common Council meeting over the Delaware Grocery Store, which to some has been seen as the epicenter of recent of violence.
“If nothing gets done then it will be a continuous escalation of violence,” said one resident who spoke during the public comment portion.
Longtime Albany resident Marlon Anderson added, “The store keepers are just as big of victims as the people who are killed out there.”
Anderson called for a citywide anti-loitering bill instead of shutting the store down.
“The loitering is the issue and if we can create a targeted focus on that issue, as I have been pushing the council for, we could save lives,” said Anderson.
Most recently, a shooting claimed the life of 33-year-old Ahmed Flemming on December 7 near the store at the corner of Judson and 2nd streets. Some in the area see the store’s accountability as the issue, including Albany resident Brenda Robinson.
“They benefit a lot from our neighborhood. I don’t see any positive impact coming from the sweat and the tears of the folks in our community. You’re getting our business, but are not giving anything back,” said Robinson.
On Thursday, Mayor Sheehan and police Chief Eric Hawkins filed a nuisance ordinance in effort to shut the store down.
Fasial Nagi, who we were told is the owner, had little to say in response.
“There’s an attorney that’s going to take the case and from there. We are doing our best to cooperate with everyone” said Nagi.
Robinson said not so.
“In the audience I saw a few people from the store, and I thought they had signed up to speak, but evidently that was not the case,” said Robinson.
If the city’s nuisance ordinance goes through, Delaware Grocery could be closed for up to a year.
Anderson asked the council for a city wide anti-loitering bill instead of targeting just one store for closure. Delaware Grocery ownership says it is working with the city to best cooperate with everyone involved.