Draft Cariol's Law is now open to public comment

Sep 16, 2020

It isn't clear whether former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne will ever get her pension, but Common Councilmembers on Tuesday moved closer to using her name as a sign of reforming police operations.

Horne broke the Blue Wall in 2006, when she maintains she tried to pull Officer Greg Kwiatkowski off suspect Neal Mack. She said Kwiatkowski was trying to choke the man he was arresting. Two years later Horne was fired. Twelve years later, then-Lt. Kwiatkowski was sent to prison for attacking four Black youths.

Horne has never been able to get her pension, but she has campaigned to require officers to do what she did: a duty to intervene. Council President Darius Pridgen said Tuesday that a full text of the new Cariol's Law is in front of the Legislation Committee and members will listen to suggestions to make it sharper next Tuesday. He also encouraged public comment.

"This was a heavy lift in that not only did you have to look at city laws, but state laws, federal laws and the Constitution of the United States," Pridgen said, "and we asked for this in a rather quick manner, again, because this was so important."

Pridgen said Council staff and Assistant Corporation Council Carin Gordon can find almost no governments having this provision to require an officer to intervene and to protect that officer for intervening.

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt said the law will recognize what Horne did and what other officers should do.

"I know that there has been a lot of discussion about if we should have Cariol's name on it, but when I think about all the different laws that have affected individuals, even with children in such situations, this appropriately has her name. I commend her for her diligence. I know that she still has an upper climb in getting her pension money, but I think this sends a message that we are really about police reform."