VIDEO: Man punched by Buffalo police during traffic stop plans to sue
A man seen on video being punched by a Buffalo police officer plans to file a lawsuit against the city.
Attorneys for 30-year-old Quentin Suttles filed a notice of claim this week in New York State Supreme Court over the May 10 traffic stop near East Eagle and Madison streets, which is already being investigated by the Buffalo Police Department and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
The claim alleges the two involved officers, who are white, racially profiled Suttles, who is Black, and used excessive force and falsely arrested him. Suttles suffered a fractured shoulder blade and fractured orbital bone.
The notice of claim names the city, the police department and Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood, as well as the arresting officers, Ronald Ammerman and Michael Scheu.
On Thursday, Suttles’ attorney, Joshua Ramos, released a five-minute video of the incident, which combines both Ammerman’s body cam footage and cell phone footage from Suttles’ girlfriend.
In the body camera footage, officers ask Suttles and his girlfriend if they have marijuana in the car. Officers then ask Suttles to step out of the vehicle and search him. During a pat down, officers accuse Suttles of placing his hand in his pocket, which Suttles denies he is.
The officers then take Suttles to the ground and restrain him.
Cell phone footage taken by Suttles’ girlfriend then shows Ammerman punching Suttles in the head several times. When the passenger tells Ammerman he “cant hit (Suttles) like that,” the officer replies that he is trying to stop Suttles from “eating the drugs.”
No drugs were found, according to the notice of claim. The officers’ police report says they found a white powder substance in Suttles’ pocket and that it was pending lab results, but Ramos told reporters Friday that the substance was Miralax, an over-the-counter laxative.
Suttles tells officers later in the video that he is dying and “can’t breathe.”
Suttles was charged with destruction of physical evidence, as well as resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration.
Despite his injuries, police did not get medical treatment for Suttles until the following day, according to the claim.
The claim alleges the two officers’ recklessness caused Suttles’ injuries, and that Lockwood and the police department failed to institute proper policies on arrest and excessive use of force, as well as failed to properly train the two officers.
The notice of claim and release of video comes less than a month after WBFO captured viral video of Buffalo police officers Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe pushing 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino outside City Hall.