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No charges for 2 Buffalo police officers seen punching man on video

Two Buffalo police officers seen on video punching a man in the face while he was on the ground won’t face criminal charges stemming from the encounter last year, a prosecutor has decided.

The Monroe County District Attorney’s office confirmed Friday that its investigation into the case of Quentin Suttles is ending without charges against Officers Ronald Ammerman and Michael Scheu, media reports said.

“We reviewed the orders of when they could use force, and we came to the conclusion that no charges were warranted against the police officers,” District Attorney Sandra Doorley told The Buffalo News.

She said her office, which was appointed as a special prosecutor for the inquiry, had spoken with Suttles and the officers and had looked at the officers’ body camera video and cellphone video from Suttles’ girlfriend.

Suttles’ lawyer, Prathima Reddy, decried the decision as “nothing short of a miscarriage of justice.”

The videos show the officers forcibly arresting Suttles, who is Black, after pulling him over and asking him about marijuana last May 10. An initially calm interaction changes as police search Suttles, 30. He denies having the drug and police tell him to take his hands out of his pockets.

He is soon on the ground, saying “I don’t have nothing!” Some of the body camera video is then obscured by what appears to be clothing, but the cellphone video shows Suttles being punched in the face as officers hold him down and a woman off-camera screams “Get off of him!” Eventually, officers appear to secure his hands behind his back.

His lawyer has said Suttles’ shoulder and eye socket were fractured, and he has filed a notice of claim, a step toward a lawsuit.

“These officers forcefully assaulted and violated Mr. Suttles without reason or justification and now with no criminal consequences,” Reddy said.

Ammerman’s attorney, Rodney Personius, told the Buffalo News the videos “conclusively demonstrated the suspect was combative and intent on inventing a false narrative.” Scheu’s layer, Terrence M. Connors, called Scheu “a terrific policeman” and said prosecutors “came to the correct conclusion.”

“He and his family are grateful that at the end of a lengthy investigation, his actions in connection with the arrest were justified,” Connors said.

Suttles was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and evidence tampering. Those charges are pending.

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