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Buffalo’s seasoned history of excessive use of force

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

When Martin Gugino was pushed by a Buffalo Police Officer on Thursday, it was added to the City of Good Neighbors’ laundry list of police brutality cases. 

Since 2006, there have been 15 documented cases of police excessive use of force in Buffalo, according to WKBW

Below are some of those cases.

In 2014, John Willet was pulled over for speeding, discovered with drugs, and attempted to flee on foot. After he was caught, he was slapped and kicked while he laid on the ground handcuffed by Officer John Cirulli. The officer got one year of probation and fined $3,000 for two civil rights violations. Several other police officers were placed on administrative leave for their part in the incident.

In 2017, Wardel “Meech” Davis was punched in the face by an officer–either Todd McAlister or Nicholas Parisi–after admitting to having drugs on him. After the punch he stopped breathing and died shortly thereafter. It was ruled a homicide. Neither officer was criminally charged, and as a result protests erupted in Buffalo. 

In 2019, Officer Corey Krug pushed Devin Ford into a car, then to the ground before hitting him with his baton. The confrontation with Devin Ford–prompted by an alleged fight that Ford was watching–was captured by a WKBW television news camera, prompting an investigation by the FBI. Krug was suspended with pay, then a jury found him not guilty of two counts of deprivation of constitutional rights.

Again in 2019, after Nicholas Belsito demanded information from Sheriff’s deputy Kenneth Achtyl on his friend’s arrest at a Bills tailgate, Achtyl struck him in the head with his baton.

A jury of six people found Deputy Kenneth Achtyl guilty of reckless assault, official misconduct and falsifying a police report. Achtyl was sentenced to two years of probation. 

Just this year, Quentin Suttles was driving without a license and suspected of having drugs. During his arrest, he was punched in the head repeatedly during an arrest by one of two officers on the scene. The arrest was recorded and posted on Facebookby the Buffalo Police Advisory Board. Investigations into Officers Ronald Ammerman and Michael Scheu are ongoing.