Shootout, hate-crime assault follow call for more Burlington policing

By Guy Page

At a July 30 political debate, a Burlington City Council candidate demanded more police protection for city residents. The next day, Burlington experienced a drug-related shootout and a racially-motivated assault in Battery Park by a man with 26 police encounters since January.

Police protection – or the lack of it – is becoming an issue in the Ward 3 August 17 special election to replace Progressive council member Brian Pine, who was appointed to a full-time city job. The Progressive-led City Council last year voted to reduce police funding because of alleged systemic racism in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. When Progressive candidate Joe Magee dismissed concern about increased crime “fearmongering” at a Friday, July 30 candidate forum, GOP candidate Christopher-Aaron Felker responded.

“We aren’t talking about fear-mongering,” Felker said. “These are facts. In the last year, we have seen a sizable increase in assaults – simple, aggravated and sexual assault – we have seen an increase in quality of life crimes. This is not fear-mongering. These are called facts.” 

As Magee sat quietly with his head down, Felker continued: “This is the city that we’re living in. If we want to talk about having a safe environment for Burlingtonians, we are going to do that by rebuilding our police department and rebuilding trust in our police department.”

Shortly after 3 am Saturday morning, police received reports of a shooting with multiple people firing at each other (called by BPD “a shootout”). Officers responded to Simon’s Mobil on South Winooski Ave, across from City Market. 

According to police, witnesses described three black males fleeing in a truck after the gunfire. Earlier in the evening, officers had dealt with a disturbance and recognized the description of the truck. Canvassing officers quickly located and attempted to stop the truck. The truck attempted to elude officers and, during the evasion, an occupant discharged a handgun from the moving vehicle. 

Eventually the truck stopped behind 90 Pearl Street where officers detained two black males and a black female. Further, officers located a bag containing a sizable amount of crack cocaine directly in front of the truck.

Later than evening, police say Matthew Kaigle, 33, Kaigle approached a male in the center of Battery Park. Kaigle punched the male multiple times as he sat on the bench, causing the victim to fall to the ground. Kaigle then kicked the male in the head multiple times as he laid on the ground.

The victim left on foot prior to police arrival. Officers were able to locate him. He said Kaigle also made malicious motivated statements of his perceived race/color. Police say Kaigle has displayed many violent tendencies towards the public in recent months, “unfortunately the victims did not want to cooperative with Police due to fear of retaliation from Kaigle.”

In a statement released today, Felker said the crimes Saturday cast a shadow on happier events meant to return Burlington to “normal community life.”

“This past weekend Burlington’s Ward 3 was proud to host the return of two treasured events:The Church Street Marketplace Festival of Fools and the Old North End Ramble. Both events brought a welcome return to normal community life, attracting visitors from Chittenden County, New England & around the world. 

“Unfortunately this past Saturday morning a man assaulted another individual at Battery Park in an incident which may have been racially motivated. Ward 3 also had two incidents of gunfire this weekend; the waterfront skatepark & at a service station on South Winooski Ave.” 

Felker said he’s glad to see the Police Commission raising the hiring cap on police officers, even if it’s just temporary. 

“I hear the collective voices in our community loud and clear demanding we change direction. My Progressive opponents continue to have their heads buried in ideological sand. It’s time to put public safety over politics,” Felker said. 

Categories: Crime

16 replies »

  1. The attack in Battery Park certainly was “racially motivated”. It resulted from a decreased police presence and a lack of prosecutorial will that is a consequence all this irrational race obsession promoted by marxists throughout the US. In any sane society, the perpetrator would have been already incarcerated for any of his multiple prior offenses. So, in the name of “racial equity”, police are hamstrung, the State’s Attorney is virtue signaling and Burlington is now open to running gun battles in the streets by downcountry urban crack dealers. That’s real racial progress. Thanks progressives! You really make decent people want to bring their children shoe shopping in Burlington.

  2. There’s several problems going on. There are quite a few mentally ill people just roaming the streets of Burlington and being allowed to repeatedly attack others. We need a better mental health system in VT; catch and release isn’t helping anyone .

    We also have had an influx of armed individuals, generally associated with drug trafficking. They pretty much appear to be black which means the leftists won’t touch this. How many shootouts have to happen before this is dealt with? Do innocent bystanders have to start dying as in places such as Chicago?

    And finally there are the stores leaving downtown for digs in S Burlington or Williston. LL Bean is the latest to do so. Who can blame them? Between the homeless population and the shoplifting, why remain in Burlington?

    And for those of us who don’t live in Burlington, why go there anymore? Feels unsafe and just not fun. It’s sad as Burlington used to be a nice little city.

  3. Believe it or not, I sincerely doubt that any police officers will be re-hired DESPITE the rising violent crime & drug rates. For reasons I’m still not 100% clear about – chaos, fear, and the loss of both personal liberties & the enforcement of the rule of law are things the radical progressives WANT!

    Just last evening, on my Front Porch Forum edition, a Burlington City Council member AGAIN stated that the “issues” in Burlington have “NOTHING” to do with the decrease in officers & patrols, and that the City simply needs healing, yada, yada, yada….

    These “Progressives” (i.e.: Marxists, Communists) are nothing less than dangerous & are destroying once beautiful Vermont. And RINO’s like Governor Scott are allowing it & enabling it to prosper.

  4. As the progressives and socialists whine and virtue signal, Burlington now finds itself in quite a quandary- in the unenviable position of becoming a place people don’t want to visit, shop, dine and live in. With the major reduction in national retailers in the downtown, Burlington began a downward spiral of increased crime, less visitors, less businesses and lately- less police. And yet the progressives blovate that more must be done! More programs, more services and more money to fix the problems that they see as a result of actions done long ago- when in fact the demise of Burlington (arguably) is of the last few years, as progressives seized the city council, Sara George decided to not prosecute criminal cases offensive to her- and Burlington’s residents turned to the altar of Covid 19 to worship.
    The recent announcement of the departure of LL Bean from Church St will be blamed on many issues and excuses will be made for their relocation- but the fact remains that Burlington’s current government attitudes and actions were obviously a large factor in their move to Williston.
    The current city council will probably never take responsibility for their actions- and begin a blame game as far as they can take it- It seems incumbent of Weinburger, Voters and the cities merchants and businesses to send a clear message to the progs about the damage they inflict on Burlington.

  5. I spent the majority of my Police career in Vermont. 35 total years of service. Policing can be very ugly. For years, the Police was left to deal with all of society’s problems. Mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness, bad parenting, the list goes on and on. The drug problem in Vermont is controlled by gangs from NYC and MA. I’m sorry, but the ugly truth of the matter is that the gangs are made up of people of color. Do all people of color participate in gang activity? Of course not. But the truth is the truth. Defunding the Police was a rash reaction to the George Floyd incident. It became popular and lots jumped on the bandwagon. You reap what you sow. Now common people, small business owners, etc suffer. Believe the BS elected politicians and the main stream media promote. Shameful. I used to love visiting Burlington. Removed from my list of favorite places. To my brothers and sisters at Burlington PD stand tall and continue to protect your community.

    • If you are aware of the news, you will realize that many of the cities that promoted “Defund The Police”, replaced police with counseling services and other bound to fail ideas are now attempting to hire more police and are finding it difficult. The same people that voted to defund want services that only a police department can provide. The comments Peter makes in the previous comment are right on target. it is disappointing that so many people are out of touch with reality with their heads floating in the clouds.

      • Their heads are floating in the clouds ? You’re too kind. I’d have located in a more malodorous place !

  6. Yogi said Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded. Now he might say it’s too dangerous.

  7. Oh my God , what in gods Earth is a ( Burlingtonian, ? ) It that some new Term for a Drag Queen from Gotham City ?

  8. Seems that just a few weeks ago, employees down town were afraid to leave at closing without a guide to accompany them. Reason, police patrols were discontinued in response to the Floyd death in another city. Terrible as it was, the city council decided we had too many police on the streets so as I understand the entire patrol schedule was cancelled. So the answer they came up with was civilian volunteers to protect those leaving their place of employment. As I pointed out at the time this was nonsensical for one reason that two civilians in trouble opened up a can of worms starting with first a liability concern. In spite of claims by a council member that the city lacks maturity etc so things will get better. Since when did a misguided four year old ( I apologize to all four year olds) qualify for responsibility of a member of the City Council. I hope most feel confidence when our police department is present in neighborhoods. Only those out to make trouble, bother people, have mental problems, a prospective sexual attacker, a thief, need fear a policeman. And one important fact is that a policeman is usually familiar with neighborhood residents and possible problems. There is no better crime deterrent in a neighborhood or business district than an alert Police Officer on walking, bicycle or cruiser. Less Is More, Less Police is More Crime. Eventually, the citizens of Burlington will realize this and provide sufficient protection. If only the citizens of Burlington would decide this before there is some tragedy. Once the city has slipped into a reputation of violence and crime it is very difficult to shut the door and pretend it doesn’t exist!

  9. Did a City Counselor ACTUALLY state that the “City lacks maturity”???? I’d say that the City Counselor & Mayor are the ones lacking maturity —- they were the ones who irrationally & immediately kowtowed to a bunch of spoiled, ignorant 20 year old kids last summer who “ordered” them to defund the police.

    Yeah…..the “city” lacks maturity.

Leave a Reply