Feds Can't Enter County Jails, But Keanu Reeves Can
by Dave McKinley
Keanu Reeves has been in town for the past few days, scouting potential locations for filming the romantic comedy "Henry's Crime".
The movie will have Reeves starring as a toll booth attendant falsely accused of robbing a Buffalo bank.
Among the places he visited: the Erie County Holding Center downtown and the county's Correctional Facility in Alden.
A sheriff's spokesperson confirms Reeves spent about a half hour Sunday inside each of the lockups.
However this occurred is at the same time the county has denied access to federal inspectors looking into allegations of prisoner abuse.
So how was it that a hollywood star was let in when the Justice Department wasn't?
The Executive Branch of county government says Reeves shouldn't have been let in.
In a statement County Spokesman Grant Loomis tells 2 On Your Side:
"The Sheriff's Department did not consult with the County Attorney's Office about this request. If it had, the request would have been denied."
Mary Murray, a spokesperson for Sheriff Tim Howard fired back a statement in response:
"As this was not a governmental inspection, nor did it involve pending litigation, we did not advise the County Attorney prior to this visit."
The statement from Murray also said that:
"Mr. Keanu Reeves was at the Erie County Holding Center this past Sunday morning. He spent approximately 30 minutes in the Erie County Holding Center and about 20 minutes at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden in unpopulated areas of the jails".
(It should be noted that Mr. Reeves also spent two and a half hours at the Wende State Correctional Facility in Alden as well)".
"The nature of his visit was to determine if the facility (ies) might be conducive to a setting in a new movie that the actor may be filming here in Buffalo- which could potentially pump up to ten million dollars in the local economy".
Meanwhile, Reeves' visit to Cabaret Restaurant on Pearl Street for lunch Monday while not controversial, did stir quite a bit of excitement among the wait staff.
"He was very nice, he drank pinot grigio, and of course he had chicken wings while he was here..." reported Jamie Mills, a server who was tending bar during Reeves' visit.
Mills had a souvenir of the movie star's visit on her cell phone, showing 2 On Your Side a picture of Reeves posing with the wait staff.
Mills guesses the restaurant will eventually display a copy of the photo on a dining room wall.