Waiting for More "Good Cops" to Draw The Line
In an era of the Eric Garner death at the hands of the chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo with a black female superior officer looking on, some may get the feeling that African American police officers are not full-fledged law enforcement officers. Perhaps reasoning there is no way any black cop will risk their careers, livelihood, friendships, and pensions by stopping one or more of their fellow white officers in the middle of clear cases of police misconduct. Especially if the victim is black.
On November 1 2006 Horne refused to stand idle as many cops do. Upon seeing Officer Greg Kwiatkowski choking a black suspect he and several other officers had previously beaten and cuffed, she grabbed the white officers's arm and yanked it from around Neal Mack's neck. The incident is well-known around Buffalo and been told countless times in court. Recently Horne told me how other related stories of brutality, misconduct and intervention were skillfully reported by the Buffalo-area white mainstream media to not apply to her. One example is a story this reporter broke on Kwiatkowski during the summer of ’07 in the Buffalo Criterion, where an Italian (Donny C. Answeeney) was beaten by Kwiatkowski and several other officers (Kwiatkowski was said to have mistaken him for a Puerto Rican).
The man, Donny Answeeney, showed me pictures of his injuries. The Buffalo Criterion ran the story after I waited for weeks to get a copy of Kwatkowski's P73 statement, admitting his physical altercation with Answeeney. Kwiatkowski not only remained on the job while the good faith officer was being interrogated, they actually promoted him. I wrote a year or so later: "this story was reportedly discredited when it came time to promote him to Lieutenant. They actually promoted him and promptly fired her. The attorney for the victim; Daniel Tronolone, wants to collect damages but doesn’t want the incident or his case tied into the demonized Horne." This wasn't the only time a victim of Kwiatkowski opted for a silent-running after a highly-publicized incident.
Late Friday May 7th 2010 (or early Saturday morning), almost two years exactly after Horne was fired several police officers under Lt. Kwiatkowski attacked another man.This time an off-duty NFTA Officer who suffered minor injuries at Pages Grille & Bar on Transit Rd. Most of them were still in uniform after just returning from a police union awards ceremony just down the road. The transit officer observed the heavy drinking and how the other customers were noticing and he sought to speak to the officers about it, only to endure a vicious beating at the hands of Kwiatkowski's fellow officers. What most people didn't realize was the identity of the beaten officer, James Delacy; the son of one of Buffalo's biggest auto dealers. Most of the local major media literally concealed this news. As for the reaction of the transit cop's family during a followup, one local TV news reporter from WIVB disclosed to me that the family of the victim waved her and a camera crew off the property when she went to the auto-dealer to get a statement. So while news of Horne's good deed has deservedly spread nationally, a decision on her pension is in the hands of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Here is her petition.
Chris Stevenson is normally a columnist and investigative reporter out of Buffalo, NY.
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