Buffalo, NY — The City of Buffalo has fought a long battle to keep the video below a secret and after you watch it, you'll know why. A handcuffed, compliant, and non-resisting man was savagely attacked and dragged down the hall by his handcuffs, all the while bleeding from his injuries. He was then left bleeding out for over an hour—tied down to a restraint chair.
“As soon as the investigation has concluded, no matter what the outcome is, we will release the video,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in 2016. But that never happened.
The video was so brutal that the jail guard who attacked Shaun Porter in 2016 was actually charged and convicted. The former Buffalo City jail guard, Matthew Jaskula pleaded guilty in May of 2017 to felony charges of deprivation of rights and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.
The incident happened in May of 2016 as Porter was being processed into the jail for assault and trespass. Instead of getting the due process he deserved, however, he got a broken face.
As the video shows, Porter is standing with his face to the wall when Jaskula grabs him for no reason and shoves him face first into a metal door. Having no way of breaking his fall—as his hands were cuffed behind his back—Porter fell to the ground, smashing his face.
But the abuse was just starting. At this point in the video, we see Jaskula grab Porter by the handcuffs and drag him down the hall way and into a cell. Instead of jumping in and stopping the crime of assault on a handcuffed man by one of their own, the other cops in the room, Buffalo Police officers Joshua Craig and Anthony D'Agostino, were seen laughing at the abuse.
Once Porter is in the cell, the officers pull down his pants, further slamming his already bleeding face into the concrete bench. After just a few moments, blood covers the floor.
But the abuse wasn't over yet. As the video shows, officers bring in a restraint chair, slam the already handcuffed man into it before putting a spit mask over his face and rolling him into another cell.
In this cell, Porter sits for over an hour, bleeding from his face, with a broken nose, handcuffed in a restraint chair.
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Porter “ended up with a beating inside the cell block. He was assaulted by the jailer and it’s our understanding that a couple of officers saw it and observed it, and it's also our understanding that he was subsequently chained to a restraint chair and bled from his broken nose for hours before he was able to get some medical help," Porter's Attorney Richard Binko said.
Officers Craig and D'Agostino remain on active duty, though they were suspended for 30 days without pay. What's more, according to the lawsuit, neither officer "reported the actions of Jaskula to anyone in authority and participated in Jaskula's attempted cover-up.''
For over a year, the Buffalo News and 7 Eyewitness News fought for the release of the video and had to sue to get it. Finally, last week, one day after the city paid out $300,000 to Porter for his assault, the city released the footage.
"We are very pleased that the City of Buffalo has finally released the tape," said Mickey Osterreicher, the attorney representing 7 Eyewitness News with the law firm Barclay Damon, LLP. "It is unfortunate that it has taken all this time and legal wrangling for the taxpayers to finally get to view this incident. Channel 7 and The Buffalo News should be commended for their efforts in making this tape public. The important thing to remember is that the first amendment protects not only the press' right to gather and disseminate information, but the public's right to receive it."
"It was very surprising that the city took such efforts to conceal this video," Attorney Joseph M. Finnerty, who represents The Buffalo News, said. "They went through almost every legal tactic available to prevent its disclosure for years. Government should be more transparent."
Amazingly enough, Porter was able to sympathize with his abuser and during Jaskula's sentencing in 2017, Porter called him "just a cog in the system" and asked the judge to be lenient on him.
"While I did sustain very serious injuries at his hands, I nonetheless ask the court for leniency," Porter wrote in his letter to the judge.
Below is this video that the Buffalo Police Department never wanted you to see.