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Jaskula sentenced to 18 months for May 2016 Buffalo jail incident

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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A former jail attendant in the City of Buffalo's downtown lockup will spend time in prison after admitting to roughing up a man while in police custody.

Matthew Jaskula was sentenced in federal court Thursday to 18 months in prison, including the three months he has already spent behind bars, for violating the constitutional rights of Shaun Porter when the latter was brought into police custody in May 2016.

As part of his guilty plea earlier this year, Jaskula admitted to roughing up Porter, first shoving him into a metal door and then, after Porter fell to the floor, hit his head and bled, dragged the individual into a cell.

Defense attorney Paul Dell apologized to Porter, who was not present for the sentencing. As part of his push for leniency, Dell noted that Porter was among those seeking leniency, explaining in writing that as a Christian man it was his obligation to forgive his offender. Porter, in his letter to the court, also reportedly stated that sending Jaskula to prison would cause hardship for his wife and three young children.

In that same letter, Porter reportedly suggests Jaskula is just one individual caught in a jailhouse culture that promotes abusive behavior.

"I think Shaun Porter does get it. This is not the only time he has been arrested. He's been through the booking process," said Dell."Even the judge said he agreed that there's probably a bad environment there. As far as fixing that environment, I tried to argue that more jail time for Mr. Jaskula is not going to fix anything."

Dell says a video of the incident, one that has been withheld by the City of Buffalo, portrays an environment that supports the behavior which got Jaskula in trouble. One of the guards, according to those who watched the video, seemingly supports the defendant's actions as they unfold.

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Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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Defense attorney Paul Dell speaks following the sentencing of his client, Matthew Jaskula.

 

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo said in court that he, too, saw the video and found it "horrible to watch." In announcing his sentencing, Vilardo stated that while Jaskula expressed remorse for the pain his actions caused his family, he did not show the same level of remorse toward his victim. 

"One of the things we pointed out to the judge is that the defendant blamed everybody. The city, the cell block, the other police officers and Mr. Porter for what happened," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Guerra. "While he admitted that he did it, he's still trying to deflect blame to everybody else that he could have pointed the finger to."

Porter has filed a civil action against the City of Buffalo.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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