Story of Good Upstate NY Cop now Goes Viral 8 years After Backwards Departmental Firing
By Chris Stevenson
The much-publicized excessive-force police officer has long produced even more disturbing by-products; the stand-around-and-do-nothing onlooker cop, and the obstructionist cop who exerts energy to stop family or friends from tending to the victim. This seems to make a good deal of the nation’s law enforcement suspects by default. An article by the New York Times Richard Oppel Jr., points out what is the most damaging and tragic aspect of the 11/22 Tamir Rice shooting was the behavior of the officer who was the partner of the officer who did the shooting.
Many people know of the current wave of police-shootings, killings and beatings of blacks by various members of law enforcement around the country. Some may get the impression these cops have been reading each other’s headlines and are in competition with one-another, with each story sounding more bizarre. In the case of Rice it wasn’t just the shooting of the 12-year-old armed with nothing more than a pellet gun by rookie officer Timothy Loehmann, it was the behavior of his partner Officer Frank Garmback immediately after the shooting. First of all neither of them “provided no immediate medical assistance to Tamir. Reportedly a minute and a half later Tamir’s 14-year-old sister tries to go to his side only to be tackled by Garmback, and then cuffed and forced to sit in the back of the police cruiser. Her brother was still alive as she watched through the window as the two officers did nothing. Were they afraid she was going to save his life?
Over the course of the past several weeks some news about a Buffalo Police Officer saving a man from a chokehold he was receiving from a fellow officer over 8-years-ago is being looked at once again. Cariol Jean Horne’s actions on 11/1/06 on intervening in the choking of a black man, Neal Mack by Buffalo Police Officer Greg Kwiatkowski probably saved Mack from being Eric Garner before the Eric Garner incident. Kwiatkowski-like Daniel Pantaleo and Loehmann-had a track record of anger and attitude issues that should have got him ousted from the force long ago, instead it was Officer Horne who had since been fired for her possibly-life-saving efforts. She openly admits she would do the same thing over again were the situation to re-present itself. Horne is black, Kwiatkowski is white. Even during a time when Horne underwent a disciplinary hearing, he continued to force similar situations upon members of the public and his fellow officers. While Kwiatkowski continued to break laws, the Buffalo Police Department still appeared obsessed with trying to teach Horne a lesson for breaking policy. He was rewarded with a promotion to Lieutenant just before her firing.
This calls to mind the NYPD officers who stood around Garner, touching him and the EMT’s talking to him as if he were conscious in that video by Ramsey Orta as opposed to being given CPR which was all of their jobs. Has the “thin blue line” become the thick wall of arrogance? And should President Obama expand on the anti-racial profiling law he wrote as a senator in Illinois, by executive ordering a national law calling for stricter measures against officers along the same line as the tough DOT laws for interstate truck drivers of a few years ago based on licensing and points? One thing for sure, any such law that penalizes for brutality, excessive force and questionable shootings needs to hold the onlooker and/or obstructionist cops to equal penalty.
Cariol Horne is not making excuses, she is currently driving over-the-road as a truck driver while still fighting for her pension. When I first met her in the spring of ‘07 she described herself as “non-political.” I asked her earlier this week “If all or most cops turn bad, then will it be because in part so many people were in denial of them for years beforehand?” She recently answered me on my Facebook inbox: “It's not just the cops, It's the system. The system encourages arrests to feed the prisons that line the pockets of so many; police, corrections, parole, probation officers, lawyers, judges, stenographers. Good officers are pawns and bad officers are the bishops, knights and rooks, the more protected pieces ultimately help protect the king and queen.”
You can assume she’s come a long way, She also has the support of officers around the country. The Buffalo City Council has left the ball in the office of the New York State Comptroller under Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the comment link below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.