Buffalo Police accused of harassing legal observer at protest

Jun 22, 2020

Buffalo Police are being accused of harassing a legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild at a downtown demonstration last week.

The Guild and the New York Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Buffalo's mayor, police commissioner and Common Council on Friday, calling for disciplinary action against the officers involved.

They said Buffalo attorney Drew Friedfertig, 37, was detained by police, and stopped and frisked on a Franklin Street sidewalk near police headquarters Wednesday.

A Guild spokeswoman told the Buffalo News that police then "rifled through" Friedfertig's phone and notes, which are considered privileged materials. He was held in a police car for more than 15 minutes before being dismissed and told to leave the area.

Several legal observers, trained to neutrally observe police conduct during gatherings and visible with their bright green hats, have been detained and sometime arrested during protests in other cities.