In 2006, Cariol Horne, a black woman who had been a Buffalo police officer for 19 years, reportedly stopped a fellow officer, who is white, from choking a suspect while making an arrest. Two years later, Horne was fired over the incident; she was just one year away from receiving her pension. Now, the Buffalo city council has voted to request that New York State Attorney General Letitia James open an investigation into Horne’s firing.
According to WGRZ 2, the Buffalo Common Council voted unanimously on the resolution.
“Now with so much attention being on the present and what some officers have done negatively, it is very difficult for some people to move forward if we have not repaired the past,” Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen told Channel 2. “If she did what she did 13 years ago, if she did it today, how would it be viewed? And I think it would be viewed a lot differently.”
At a Wednesday press conference announcing police reform, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was asked if he also wanted to see Horne’s case reopened.
“My thoughts is that was more than 12 years ago. In that 12-year period of time, I think a different telling of history is happening from what happened at that time,” Brown said, adding that he had already written a letter to the then-Attorney General to have Horne’s pension reinstated–a request that was denied, allegedly because of insufficient evidence.
Brown said that Horne went through a long arbitration, which ended with the Buffalo Police Department determining that Horne put officers at risk by interfering with a chokehold, according to NBC News. “I didn’t terminate her, she went through a process she called for and was terminated,” Brown said.
It’s worth mentioning that Gregory Kwiatkowski, the white officer Horne stopped, was later jailed after being convicted of using excessive force on suspects—who were handcuffed at the time—more than a decade after Horne’s firing.
Kwiatkowski, the officer that Horne stopped in 2006, was arrested and sentenced to four months in prison for use of excessive force against four Black teenagers 10 years after Horne was fired.
The teenagers were accused of shooting BB guns while driving around their neighborhood, but they were compliant with the arresting officers when Kwaitkowski appeared at the scene. He admitted to “forcibly pushing each of the suspects heads and upper torsos into the vehicle around which they were being detained,” according to the Department of Justice.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Buffalo Police Department is the same agency that suspended and criminally charged two officers who allegedly pushed 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground during a George Floyd protests, critically injuring him. That incident resulted in 57 officers resigning from the Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team, in what the police union said was a show of support for the suspended officers.
It’s almost as if the Buffalo Police Department is a picture-perfect example of what we mean when we ask: Where are the good cops?
Since her firing, Horne has become an activist who speaks out against police brutality and has “has attempted to pass a law in New York that would protect officers who attempt to stop acts of excessive force by their fellow officers,” NBC reports.
On Friday, Horne told the Washington Post she has no regrets.
“I always say that if I had to do it again, I would,” she said.