New York attorney general called to probe the 2008 firing of a Black Buffalo police officer who jumped on a white colleague’s back to stop him from using a chokehold

A view shows a Buffalo Police vehicle parked in front of the city hall before a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Niagara Square, in Buffalo, U.S., June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario
  • City officials in Buffalo, New York, have called on state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the 2008 firing of a Black Buffalo Police Officer who stopped another officer from choking a suspect during an arrest.
  • The officer who attempted to use the chokehold was arrested and sentenced to four months in prison a decade later for his use of excessive force against four Black teenagers.
  • Cariol Horne, the fired officer, has since become an activist against police brutality.
  • The Buffalo Police Department made headlines earlier this month when two officers shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground on video.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Officials on the Buffalo, New York, City Council have asked the New York attorney general to investigate the 2008 firing of a Black police officer who said she was terminated after she intervened to stop another officer’s use of a chokehold during an arrest.

In 2008, Cariol Horne was fired from the Buffalo Police Department following her actions in a 2006 incident that involved her stopping a white police officer from using a chokehold on a suspect while making an arrest, according to NBC News.

According to City & State New York, Horne in 2006 jumped on the back of fellow officer Gregory Kwiatkowski, who is white, who was using a chokehold on a Black suspect.

Horne was fired after the arbitration process determined she put the lives of other police officers, including the officer who attempted to use a chokehold, in danger, according to WGRZ. Horne, who was an officer with BPD for 19 years was terminated one year before she was eligible to receive her pension, according to NBC.

Since her firing more than a decade ago, Horne has become an activist for police reform and has attempted to pass legislation in the state of New York that would protect officers who intervene to prevent other cops from using excessive force, NBC News reported.

“Now with so much attention being on the present and what some officers have done negatively, it is very difficult for some people to move forward if we have not repaired the past,” Darius Pridgen, the president of the Buffalo Common Council, told WGRZ.

He added: “If she did what she did 13 years ago, if she did it today, how would it be viewed? And I think it would be viewed a lot differently.”

In 2018, Kwiatkowski, the officer whom Horne stopped from using a chokehold, was arrested and sentenced to four months in prison for use of excessive force against four Black teenagers, according to NBC News.

Neither the BPD nor the office of the New York Attorney General Letitia James immediately returned Insider’s request for comment on Sunday.

The Buffalo Police Department made headlines earlier this month when two of its officers were caught on video pushing a 75-year-old man to the ground during a protest on June 4. Dozens of other officers watched and marched past the man as he laid on the ground, bleeding from his head.

A lawyer for Martin Gugino, the man pushed to the ground, said he suffered a brain injury following the fall, according to NBC News. Buffalo officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalaski, 32 and 39 respectively, have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault. Both McCabe and Torgalaski have been suspended without pay.

In response to their suspension, some 57 Buffalo Police Officers responded by resigning from the police force’s emergency response team.

“Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, the police union president, told the Investigative Post.

Some cities and states around the country have announced the probation of neck restraints and chokeholds amid nationwide protest following the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis. A white police officer was recorded for more than eight minutes holding his knee to Floyd’s neck even though he said he couldn’t breathe and eventually lost consciousness.

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