Officer Cariol Horne did what any good person would do, when she saw a fellow cop choking a handcuffed suspect. She stepped in, and stopped the attack on the defenseless citizen.
In a story that garnered national attention, Horne was fired, then dismissed from the Buffalo Police Department after 19 years of service.
She was one year shy of her required 20 years, to get her pension. Now, she is still fighting to get the money that she worked so hard for – only to have it stolen out from under her for taking a stand against illegal police violence.
It all started back on November 1, 2006, when Officer Horne arrived at the scene of an officer in distress at 707 Walden Avenue, in Buffalo, New York.
That officer was Gregory Kwiatkowski, had responded to a domestic dispute between Neal Mack and his girlfriend.
Officer Horne entered the house and saw Mack had already been placed under arrest.
Officer Horne told local 7 Eyewitness News that Mack had been handcuffed in the front and was sideways. He was unable to move, and was being punched in the face repeatedly by Officer Kwiatkowski.
Horne says that she and 10 other officers brought Mack outside, but Officer Kwiatkowski got right back to work on him, choking the handcuffed suspect.
“Gregory Kwiatkowski turned Neal Mack around and started choking him. So then I’m like, Greg! You’re choking him! I though whatever happened in the house he [Kwiatkowski] was still upset about it so when he didn’t stop choking him I just grabbed his arm from around Neal Mack’s neck,” Horne recounted.
Horne says that’s when Kwiatkowski physically attacked her, “He comes up and punches me in the face and I had to have my bridge replaced,” Horne explained.
But no charges were ever raised against Mack or Officer Kwiatkowski. Horne was, however, charged with obstruction – 13 counts in total, including obstruction for “jumping on officer Kwiatkowski’s back and/or striking him with her hands.”
But Horne has documents from Officer Kwiatkowkski, including his sworn statements which state, “she never got on top of me.”
She ended up filing numerous arbitration hearings to keep her job but she was ultimately found guilty of the charges.
By May of 2014, Officer Kwiatkowski and two other officers were indicted on federal civil rights violations against African American teen suspects. Kwiatkowski has plead guilty to using excessive force in another case as part of a plea deal where he will testify against fellow officers to save himself. Although, defense attorney Terrence Connors questions his credibility due to a “long list of disciplinary issues.”
By December 11th of 2014, the Buffalo Common Council held a special meeting to review Officer Horne’s case.
By June 4 of 2015, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown requested a special meeting with Cariol Horne to revisit her case with what he called “fresh eyes.” But ultimately, he said that she has “exhausted” all of her “legal options.”
In December of 2016, Horne sent a petition with approximately 16,000 signatures on it to the State Comptroller DiNapol, but she has received no response.
Now, a documentary is being made about Horne’s case that hopes to reignite national attention.
Watch the video below: