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Cariol Horne gains legal help as supporters urge restoration of pension, passage of "Cariol's Law"

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A former Buffalo Police officer and her supporters rallied in Lafayette Square Friday afternoon, where it was announced she has obtained a legal team in a bid to restore her eligibility for a full pension. She lost her job with the police department in 2007, for what supporters insist was doing the right thing.

The former officer was the last of several speakers. Horne, when it was her turn, primarily led the crowd in a chant: "I don't like... what I saw... we need to pass... Cariol's Law..."

The proposed Cariol's Law, which she and her peers first introduced June 30, would make it mandatory for police officers to intervene and stop acts of brutality by fellow officers. Inaction in such circumstances would be punishable by termination and prosecution. Additionally, under Cariol's Law officers who do intervene would be protected from any internal retaliation, including reassignment.

Horne, while a Buffalo Police officer in 2007, intervened to stop a White police officer who had placed a chokehold on a Black suspect. She was subsequently terminated, one year short of eligibility for retirement and a full pension.

Among those calling for passage of the law was activist and local business owner Phylicia Dove.

"Police officers must use their responsibility wisely," she said. "They have to do more than generate income for the city. When they took the oath to protect and serve, it is vital that they do just that."

The Buffalo Common Council recently passed a resolution asking the New York State Attorney General to reopen Horne's case. It was announced during the rally Friday that a legal team has been assembled to represent Horne. They include Ronald Sullivan and Intisar Rabb of Harvard Law School, and W. Neil Eggleston and Kamran Bajwa of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Eggleston is a former White House Counsel for President Barack Obama and an Associate Counsel for President Bill Clinton. Sullivan is credited with securing legal victories for the family of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Other speakers at the rally included Myles Carter, a Buffalo man who was arrested last month while protesting the arrest of another Buffalo man the month before, Quentin Suttles.

"She worked hard for this moment," he said. "We could sit here and talk all day about the issues that exist in Buffalo. But Cariol Horne is solving problems in Buffalo. Not only did she do the right thing, she then drafted the legislation to fix the problem. Protect the police officers who step forward! Protect the police officers that do the right thing."

Also among the speakers who appeared in support of Horne was the man who was under arrest at the time she intervened, Neal Mack, Sr.

"She saved me. An angel from heaven," Mack said. "God sent. There should be more police officers like her. Amen."

Following the rally in Lafayette Square, Horne and her peers led those in attendance in a march which moved westward along Court Street, passed through Niagara Square and ended in front of City Hall, where live music and other supporters were already waiting to greet them.

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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