Lawmakers approve Cariol's Law, goes to mayor for signature

Sep 30, 2020

Buffalo is one legal step away from having a law requiring police officers to intervene if another officer starts using too much force against someone being arrested. This "duty to intervene" is detailed in Cariol's Law.

It is now up to Mayor Byron Brown -- and probably the court system -- whether Buffalo will soon have Cariol's Law. The measure passed the Common Council Wednesday.

To celebrate passage, Common Council President Darius Pridgen held a news conference Tuesday next to 707 Walden Ave. It was there the long saga of former Buffalo Police officer Cariol Horne began 14 years ago.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Horne maintains officers were violently arresting Neal Mack in that house and Horne tried to pull then-police officer Greg Kwiatkowski off Mack. That led to Horne being fired and loss of her pension, and turned her into a crusader for police reform.

She and Mack were on Walden to look at where it all started. Horne said this law is for the future.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"I still don't have my pension, but this will help other officers so that they don't have to go through what I've gone through," Horne said.

Council President Darius Pridgen said the law will hold up in court.

"That's the reason we have this system called the court system and anybody can go to court. I'm not worried about it. I do believe we'll prevail. I do believe that there are a majority of police officers out there that want this to be in place, that want to be able to intervene and not get disciplined, that want to be able to intervene and really, really serve their community. I'm not worried about courts. Courts don't scare me. We hire lawyers," Pridgen said.

During Council debate earlier in the day, South Buffalo Councilmember Chris Scanlon said he backed the duty to intervene law, but wouldn't vote for it because it carried Horne's name.

Common Councilmember Chris Scanlon voted against Cariol's Law.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"Should there have been a duty to intervene law in Minneapolis, MN, there's a very good chance that George Floyd would still be walking around on this earth," Scanlon said. "So instead of naming this legislation after someone like George Floyd or someone else who was harmed or killed because of an incident like this, we decided as a body to name this law for a former officer who, in my opinion, had a checkered record."

The lone "no" vote, Scanlon said Horne was not a good officer and her description of the incident with Kwiatkowski is denied by others who were there.

Later, Lt. Kwiatkowski did a short prison term after an incident involving four young Black men. He is on a police pension now.