"I don't regret it, I'd do it again"
Buffalo , NY-- While killer cops get sent on paid vacations, it's hard to imagine what one has to do to actually be fired. It turns out, the answer is be a good cop.
Former Buffalo Police Officer, Cariol Horne is fighting for her pension since she was fired after 19 years on the force, over an incident in 2006 when she stopped a fellow officer from choking a handcuffed suspect.
Horne had received a call that Officer Gregory Kwiatkowski was at the scene of a domestic dispute and in need of assistance. When she arrived, she witnessed Kwiatkowski violently punching the handcuffed suspect in the face.
Horne and other officers on the scene removed the suspect from the house, but once outside Kwiatkowski pounced again, this time choking the handcuffed man. Believing Kwiatkowski to be out of out of control, Horne removed his arm from around the man's neck.
"Gregory Kwiatkowski turned Neal Mack around and started choking him. So then I'm like, 'Greg! You're choking him,' because I thought whatever happened in the house he was still upset about so when he didn't stop choking him I just grabbed his arm from around Neal Mack's neck," Horne told WKBW.
Infuriated that she had crossed the thin blue line, Kwaitkowski then punched Horne in the face. The punch so was hard that Horne ended up having to have her bridge replaced. She was then injured again as officers dragged her away from trying to defend herself.
Here is where things get crazy.
The good cop, who was trying to stop abuse by her peer, was fired for "jumping on Officer Kwaitkowski's back and/or striking him with her hands," something that Kwaitkowski himself denied ever happening in a sworn statement.
The bad cop, who was choking a man and then punched his female co-worker in the face, kept his job. It wasn't until he choked another officer at a district station house that he was forced to retire. He was already under investigation for punching another officer while he was off-duty at a local bar.
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In May of this year Kwiatkowski and two other officers were indicted for civil rights violations against four black teenagers, just days before the statute of limitations was due to expire. One of the teens was also the son of a Buffalo police officer.
Kwaitkowski is accused of using excessive force while the victim was already under arrest. His fellow officers then shot at a handcuffed teenager with the teens own BB gun, after the boy was aready handcuffed and in the back seat of their police vehicle.
Imagine if just one of the officers who stood around watching Eric Garner's life being taken had the courage Horne had.
Unfortunately, they would probably be in the same situation she is.
This incident is hardly isolated either. Earlier this month we brought you the story of a 20 year veteran of the CSU Monterey Bay police force who was given a notice of termination for choosing NOT to immediately resort to violent escalation during a confrontation with a suicidal student.
In almost every single video we see, there are other officers present and allowing it to happen. Sadly, with departments across the nation upholding their reputation of vilifying anyone who dares to cross the thin blue line, it's no wonder there is such a shortage of police willing to speak out against the atrocities we have been witnessing.
While many police may choose this line of work because they want to be "heroic," Horne is a true hero- and she does not regret her actions. Nobody ever said being a hero is easy.
Just something to think about.