Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Family sues Monroe County after Civic Center garage attack

focus on hammer, group of files on judge table covered with dust - concept of pending old cases or work at judicial court
Stock photo

A local family attacked by a homeless man inside the downtown Civic Center parking garage last year is suing the county and the garage operator, Mapco.

They claim officials knew of their alleged attacker, and his past conflicts with garage patrons, and failed to take action — be it to remove the man or warn visitors.

The attack happened on Jan. 15, 2022.

Police said a homeless man named Tyrone Oliver accosted 52-year-old Michael Williams, along with his wife and 9-year-old daughter, as they left an event at Blue Cross Arena. A passerby invited them into their vehicle, when Oliver allegedly then tackled Williams, punched and kicked him then grabbed a hockey stick and started swinging it at the couple.

Police arrested Oliver. And Monroe County – which owns the enclosed and underground garage – responded by stepping up security and relocating multiple homeless people from the facility.

For years the garage has been a refuge for some hard-to-house homeless; people who either were turned away from or did not want to stay at shelters. Over the years, county administrations have led intermittent efforts to clear them from the garage.

The Williams family filed its lawsuit in Supreme Court. The complaint states the county and garage operator Mapco knew about the homeless encampment, that Oliver was among them, and that he had a history of having "attacked, harassed, menaced and/or threatened other persons in the garage."

The family is seeking damages to be determined by the court.

Monroe County and Mapco declined comment, which is standard in cases of pending litigation.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's business and development reporter. He has been covering Rochester since 2005, working most of that time as an investigative reporter with the Democrat and Chronicle. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.