By Friday, the Common Council should have the first draft of a major change in policing in Buffalo. It's likely to be called Cariol's Law, for former BPD Officer Cariol Horne, who maintains she was fired from the department for trying to stop another officer from attacking someone he was arresting. The proposed new law would require police to intervene.
It's called a "duty to intervene." The proposal would include not only that requirement, but protections for the whistleblower in blue who interferes in prospective violence.
In her case, Horne maintains she thought the arresting officer would seriously hurt the man being arrested. That officer, later promoted to lieutenant, was eventually convicted in another case and did a short prison term. Former Lt. Greg Kwiatkowski collects a pension and Horne lost hers because she was fired before completing 20 years.
"What Cariol's Law does is protect officers who stop other officers when they are being abusive," Horne said. "You know things can happen. There are a lot of good police officers. So I'm not anti-cop. I'm just, like I said, anti-police brutality. So I think the problem is police brutality. The solution is Cariol's Law."
Retired cop and Council Majority Leader David Rivera said it is the right thing to do.
"If you see somebody doing wrong, you should do right. And that police officer that does the right thing, he should be protected. And I think all of us, it's just common sense," Rivera said. "You are there to protect and serve. You see an injustice. You see police working outside the scope of the law, you should intervene. You should be protected."
South District Councilmember Chris Scanlon said it has to happen.
"I'm absolutely in favor of addressing that situation and ensuring that our officers not just are required to do so, but feel empowered to intervene in those situations, knowing that they will neither be ostracized nor disciplined for their action," Scanlon said.
There is a strong local movement, which includes councilmembers, pushing to do something to get Horne her pension. While the Common Council won't be able to pass an actual law until September because of the August recess, it's forcing a look at when happened back in 2006, when she was suspended, until 2008, when she was fired, and a look at all of the police officers and brass involved.