UPDATE (11/8/23): The case was dismissed and sealed by operation of law.
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE (9/21/23):
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 31-year-old Davious Kapinski of Buffalo and 23-year-old Robert Lawrence of Buffalo were arraigned this morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio. Each were charged with one count of Disruption, or Disturbance of Religious Service, Funeral, Burial or Memorial Service (Class “A” misdemeanor) and one count of Harassment in the Second Degree (violation).
It is alleged that on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at approximately 7:48 p.m., Buffalo Police responded to a 911 call for a reported disturbance at a mosque on the 1900 block of Genesee Street. The defendants are accused of entering the mosque without permission and disrupting a religious service, which caused alarm and annoyance. Both men were taken into custody nearby a short time later.
Kapinski and Lawrence are scheduled to return on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. for a pre-trial conference. Both were released on their own recognizance as the charges are non-qualifying offenses for bail. At the request of the prosecutor, Judge LoTempio issued a temporary order of protection on behalf of the complainant.
If convicted of the highest charge, Kapinski and Lawrence face a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for their work in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Anthony J. Campanella of the Buffalo City Court Bureau.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.