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Protester and former BPD officer gives her firsthand account of police brutality

Ryan Zunner
WBFO Reporter Mike Desmond (l) interviews protester and former Buffalo police officer Cariol Horne.

One of the people involved in Thursday's long march for racial justice is a former Buffalo police officer, fired short of her pension for trying to stop another officer from beating another prisoner.

Cariol Horne said it was 2006. She wanted to prevent Officer Gregory Kwiatkowski from choking a prisoner, so she jumped on him to stop. After a subsequent investigation, she was fired for that, just short of receiving her pension.

The mug shot of Gregory Kwiatkowski.

Years later, then-Lt. Kwiatkowski was convicted of attacking four young black men during an arrest and sentenced to four months in prison plus four months of home confinement.

Horne said her firing sent a message against stopping police brutality.

"It most certainly does, because if they didn't fire me for stopping the brutality, someone could have stopped the officer from kneeing and stopping the breathing of George Floyd," she said.

Since then, Horne has continued to share her experience. She said officers in Minneapolis meant to kill Floyd and were even warned during the fatal incident.

"His nose is bleeding, check his pulse and all the different things that they said and he still did it. That was intentional," Horne said. "Because I don't even see how there could be any other way around it, like why he's handcuffed and you have  other officers there holding him down. Also, there are four officers. Why do you have to stay on his neck for eight minutes, almost nine minutes? That makes no sense."

Credit Kyle S. Mackie / WBFO News
Thursday's protest makes it way from City Hall to the Lower West Side and later returned to City Hall.

She said state law should be changed to open up discipline records of officers, which are now secret.

"If you are a public servant, your record should not be private, especially when you are dealing with the public," Horne said. "So, if you are a police officer and you are dealing with someone, it makes no sense to keep the record private, because you are out in the public. It only makes sense."

On Monday, state legislators are slated to repeal that police records law, what is called Section 50-A: New York State Civil Service law covering the right of privacy.

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