A retired Buffalo police lieutenant and two suspended cops pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to federal charges of civil rights violations stemming from a 2009 case allegedly involving police brutality.
The case grew out of an incident when four young people allegedly drove through the University Heights community shooting with a BB gun. After they were stopped and arrested, one of the young people claimed he was handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car and was shot with that BB gun.
In a civil case, the city settled the case. Last week, three days before the criminal statute of limitations would have expired, Retired Lt. Gregory Kwiatkowski, officer Raymond Krug and officer Joseph Wendel were charged.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Campagna says law is very clear.
"It is, fundamentally, a civil rights violation when police use unnecessary force during the course and after an arrest. That's basic, black letter law," said Campagna.
There were around two-dozen officers, many in uniform, in the courtroom and afterwards waiting outside the federal court house to support the three men accused in this case. None had any comment about the case and the charges.
Attorney Terry Connors, who represents Krug, says he is a good cop from a good family.
"He's been there for 13 years. He works hard. He's got a great reputation. Look at all of his brethren that packed the courtroom today. That's a sign of solidarity," Connors said.
Krug and Wendel are suspended with pay. After an appearance before Magistrate H. Kenneth Schroeder, the series of legal processes might see the case going to a jury trial this fall.